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Futures contracts accounted for the greatest percentage of transactions: the volume of trade in these contracts made RUR 32.9 billion (4.26 million contracts, 142.12 thousand transactions) over the period under observation. As before, options were in a much lower demand: the respective amount of trading made about RUR 2.85 million (352.8 thousand contracts, 6.6 thousand transactions). The maximum trading volume was observed on December 8 and made RUR 3.34 billion, while the minimum trading volume (RUR 1.3 billion) was registered on December 16.

On the classical stock market.

According to the RTS.

Ukos Sibneft Tatneft GMK LUKoil Russia Russia NorNikel RAO UES Mosenergo Sberbank of Rostelekom Surgutneftegas Corporate bond market. On the whole, in December the level of prices of corporate bonds somewhat declined. In the beginning of the month, the dynamics of quotations of corporate bonds were similar to the quotations of government securities. A significant volume of primary supply attracted a considerable part of liquidity, what facilitated speculation for the fall on the secondary market. Later, the information about the lodging of tax claims against Vympelkom resulted in mass sales, especially in the telecommunication sector. At the same time, the situation on the primary market was somewhat better, the evidence of which is the successful placement of RZhD bonds at the high level of liquidity in the banking sector. At the end of the second week of the month, the mass sales of Ruble denominated securities continued. In the middle of December, the fall stopped and investors began to buy the issues, which got significantly cheaper. These developments were also facilitated by the Ruble appreciation against the US dollar on the domestic forex market. However, all positive developments on the market were neutralized by the end of the week due to the rumors about new tax claims against Vympelkom in spite of the fact that these rumors were not confirmed officially. Therefore, the quotations were primarily affected by corporate news. At the end of the month, the situation on the market stabilized and was in favor of buyers. The factor behind this development was the statement made by the Deputy RF Finance Minister S. Shatalov that the amount of tax claims against Vympelkom might be significantly diminished. Later, due to the absence of news the market entered the stage of consolidation.

From December 1 till December 23, the price index of corporate bonds traded at the MICEX11 decreased by 0.55 points (0.49 per cent) and the index of ten most liquid corporate sector bonds decreased by 0.86 points (by 0.74 per cent). In the period from December 1 till December 23, the total turnover in the bond sector of MICEX made about RUR 38.79 billion about RUR 24.2 billion in the respective period of November), while the average daily turnover was registered at RUR 2.42 billion (RUR 1.27 billion in November). Therefore, the activity of participants of the market of corporate debt instruments has enhanced rather significantly.

Figure Dynamics of corporate bond indices ZETBI-Corp ZETBI-Corp The indices of corporate bonds traded at the MICEX that have been used for the calculations are calculated by Zenit Bank. factors affecting the dynamics of the Russian stock market. In the beginning of the month, the oil prices declined at a record rate; over the first half of the month the decline made about 20 per cent. The factor behind such a sharp fall in quotations was the statistical data on the fuel reserves in the USA, which indicated a significant growth across practically all types of fuels. The OPEC reaction followed immediately. The cartel reacted to these developments at its summit taking place on December 10. The summit took the decision to harmonize the official quotas and the real level of oil extraction, which at that time was somewhat above the official quota.

Later, after the publication of the EIA report on the commercial reserves of oil and other fuels in the USA, which proved to be below the forecasts, the prices were adjusted upward, since the market expected an increase in the fuel reserves, however, they remained at the previous level. Bad weather as it seems facilitated the further decline in reserves and thus created incentives for a further rise in oil prices on the world market.

In December, the situation on the world stock markets remained favorable (see Table 1). Over the month, on the US stock markets there were observed upward dynamics of the key US stock indices. In the beginning of the month, the US markets went up at the background of significantly declining oil prices. The economic statistical data were mixed. On the one hand, the rates of economic growth were rather satisfactory and inflation remained at the normal level. On the other hand, certain indications of stagnation were observed on the labor market. Later, the market received negative economic statistics and corporate news, what resulted in a downfall of indices. The quotations of US stocks were also negatively affected by the rising interest rates, inflation, and depreciation of the US currency. On the whole, the majority of the published economic indicators were below the level of respective forecasts.

In the second half of the month, the US stock indices went up in spite of the publication of negative economic and corporate news. The factors positively affecting the market still remained rather high rates of economic growth in the US economy and relatively low yields of government bonds. The Open Market Committee of the US FRS, as it had been expected, raised the interest rate by 0.25 basis points to 2.25 per cent per annum.

Figure 6.

Dow Jones Industrial Average 150% Nasdaq Composite The RTS Index 130% 110% 90% 70% news.

The OAO Sibneft On December 14 of 2004, Sibneft won the auction for the right to explore and extract hydrocarbons in three areas of the Yamal Nenets autonomous okrug. According to the data presented by the Department of Natural Resources of the Yamal Nenets autonomous okrug, the retrievable oil reserves of the Yuzhno Udmurtsky field obtained by the Sibneft were estimated to be at 1.2 million metric tons (the geological reserves were estimated to be at 7.6 million metric tons), while the reserves of the Chatylkinsky field totaled to 3.1 million metric tons and 8.9 million metric tons respectively, and the reserves of the Kholmisty field amounted to 9.7 million metric tons and 42.6 million metric tons. The average value of the retrievable reserves purchased at the auction made US $ 0.5 per barrel.

The OAO Gazprom In the beginning of the month, the Board of Directors approved the participation of the OOO Gazpromneft in the auction for the sale of 76.79 per cent in the OAO Yuganskneftegaz, the submission of the final binding bid and the transaction with respect to the purchase of the said shares. At the same time, after the US court ruled the suspension of the auction for the sale of Yuganskneftegaz, the consortium of banks granting the respective credit took the decision to suspend this transaction and granting of the syndicated credit to the company. Later, by the end of the month there appeared information that Gazprom had sold Gazpromneft, which should have become the owner of Yuganskneftegaz after the merger with Rosneft, which purchased the winner of the auction for the sale of Yuganskneftegaz.

OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel On December 2 of 2004, the Board of Directors of the company took the decision to purchase the companys own placed ordinary registered shares with face value of RUR 1 per share each. The total number of purchased shares should be 12 500 000.

The purchase of the shares should be at the price of RUR 1 680 per share, the total amount of purchase should make up to RUR 21 billion. The applications concerning the purchase of shares should be submitted by the shareholders wishing to sell their stock to the company from December 15, 2004, till January 15, 2005. The purchase of the share should take place from January 16, 2005, till February 15, 2005. The payment for the shares should be made in cash at the moment of purchase in accordance with the sales contract, but not later than in the 30 days period after the date of completion of the period of purchase set forth by the company.

The OAO Slavneft At an extraordinary meeting, which took place on December 15, 2004, the shareholders of the OAO NGK Slavenft took the decision to approve the payment of interim dividends for the first 9 months of the companys operations in 2004. The total amount of dividends should make RUR 14.5 billion or RUR 3.06 per ordinary share of the face value of 0.1 kopeck. The payment of dividends should be carried out prior to December 31, 2004. The list of the shareholders having the right to participate in the meeting was composed basing on the data entered in the register as on November 9, 2004.

Besides, in December the group of companies Slavneft completed the transaction concerning the purchase of the block of ordinary and preferred shares in the OAO Slavneft Megionneftegaz (MNG) from the minority shareholders, whose interests were represented by the company Vostok - Nafta. The amount of the purchased block of shares amounted to 6.4 per cent of the authorized capital of the OAO Slavneft Megionneftegaz. As a result of the transaction, the share of the group of companies Slavneft in the authorized capital of the MNG increased up to 56.4 per cent. The group of companies Slavneft owns 60.12 per cent of the total number of ordinary shares and 18.11 per cent of the total number of preferred stock of the OAO Slavneft Megionneftegaz. The consolidation of the joint stock capital of the Slavneft subsidiaries would facilitate the improvement of the corporate structure of the group.

The RAO UES of Russia In the very beginning of December, in accordance with the schedule (prior to December 1, 2004) the RAO UES of Russia completed the payment of dividends for year 2003. According to the information provided by the company, the total amount of dividend payments made RUR 2.39 billion. About RUR 1.9 billion were paid as the ordinary share dividends (proceeding from RUR 0.0469 per share) and RUR 473 million as the preferred stock dividends (proceeding from RUR 0.2283 per share).

In the middle of December there was made public the official information that the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) would grant the subsidiary of the RAO UES of Russia the OAO System Operator TsDU UES a credit amounting to Euro 80 million. The respective agreement had been signed in London. In accordance with the signed agreement, the credit should be provided in two tranches. The first tranche amounting to Euro 60 million should be granted to the System Operator for a 10 year term, and the second tranche amounting to Euro 20 million should be granted for the term of 7 years by the syndicate of two commercial banks - Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG and Bayerische Landesbank.

The System Operator should invest the borrowings in the development and introduction of a new joint automated control system of Russia (SCADA/EMS Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition/ Energy Management System). The project envisaged that program and equipment complexes should be purchased and put into operation at the central (TsDU) and seven joint control directorates (ODU), which are units of the OAO SO TsDU UES.

On December 24, 2004, the Board of Directors of the RAO UES of Russia approved the formation of the OAO Federal Hydro Generating Company (OAO GidroOGK) with participation of the RAO UES of Russia via the creation of a 100 per cent subsidiary on the following terms:

The authorized capital of the OAO GidroOGK should amount to RUR 103 951 322 divided in ordinary registered stock with the face value of RUR 1 per share;

The term of payment for the shares should make 3 months since the date of state registration of the OAO GidroOGK;

The form of payment for shares should be property, the money equivalent of which should make RUR 103 849 527 702 and 47 kopecks; and money funds amounting to RUR 101 794 999 and 53 kopecks.

At the first stage, the composition of the OAO GidroOGK should include the shares in the following subsidiaries and affiliates of the RAO UES of Russia: OAO Volzhskaya GES, OAO Zhigulevskaya GES, OAO Votkinskaya GES, OAO SShGES named after P. S. Neporozhy, OAO Zeyskaya GES, OAO Boguchanskaya GES, OAO Bureyskaya GES, OAO Zaramagskiye GES, OAO Zelenchukskiye GES, OAO KabbakGES, OAO Sulakenergo, OAO Nizhny Novgorod GES, OAO Saratovskaya GES, OAO Kamskaya GES, OAO Kaskad VV GES, OAO UK VoGEK.

The NK YUKOS In relation to the ruling of the Moscow City Arbitration Court with respect to the claim lodged by a YUKOS shareholder Millhouse Capital, which prohibited the NK YUKOS shareholders extraordinary meeting planned for December 20, 2004, it was announced that the planned meeting was cancelled.

According to the YUKOS statement, this court ruling does not comply with the clearly stated position of the Supreme Arbitration Court as concerns the principal impossibility to prohibit shareholders meetings on the part of courts.

On December 20, 2004, the NK YUKOS made public the statement to the effect that the participants of the auction for the sale of shares in the OAO Yuganskneftegaz, which took place on December 19, 2004, as well as the persons, which could have taken part in the completion of the transactions concerning the sale of the said shares or other actions with respect to the companys property, were notified that these shares were the property included in the mass of the bankrupts estate of the NK YUKOS according to Article 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code and that the auction was held in contravention of the respective prohibition, which entered into force immediately at the moment the company submitted to the US Bankruptcy Court in Houston (Texas) the application on reorganization of YUKOS. In the case the sale of shares in the OAO Yuganskneftegaz is completed, it would result in the YUKOS losses amounting to US $ 20 billion. The company was going to seek compensation at the expense of all parties involved in the sale, its financing, and any other transaction having an impact on the value of the shares.

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