August 31, 2017 / 8:33 AM / in a year

Russian banking stocks hold gains, calmed by Otkritie rescue

MOSCOW, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Russian banking stocks dipped on Thursday but held most of the gains made in the previous session following a decision by the central back to bail out troubled lender Otkritie.

The Moscow stock exchange’s financial sector index was down 0.4 percent at 0735 GMT to trade at 7,149 points. The index rose 1.6 percent in the previous session after three consecutive days of losses.

Wednesday’s gains were spurred by the central bank’s swift action to rescue Otkritie, Russia’s seventh-biggest lender by assets, which analysts said reduced risks of broader contagion in the sector.

The Russian central bank announced on Tuesday it would take at least a 75 percent stake in Otkritie to plug a hole in its balance sheet, the biggest Russian bank bailout since 2011.

Otkritie shares were down 2.2 percent and shares in Russia’s second-biggest bank VTB, which is a shareholder in Otkritie, fell 0.8 percent after hitting a month high in the previous session.

VTB shares gained 8 percent on Wednesday after the lender posted strong earning. Aton analysts said in a note this was also driven by positive news on Otkritie.

“The (VTB) bank’s shares have been under pressure over the past few months due to investors’ concerns regarding Otkritie. We reiterate our sell rating on the stock,” Aton analysts said.

Wider Russian share indexes also fell slightly.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was down 0.5 percent to 1,079 points, while the rouble-based MICEX was 0.1 percent lower at 2,006 points.

The rouble was flat against the dollar at 58.56 and had lost 0.1 percent to trade at 69.58 versus the euro.

The economy ministry said on Thursday it expected the Russian currency to weaken over the next couple of years, bringing its losses against the dollar to 13 percent by the end of 2019.

For rouble poll data see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/fx-polls?RIC=RUB=

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

Russia in graphics: (Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Andrey Ostroukh)

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