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08/14/1998 08:01:14 Top Russia shares squeeze higher in early trade

MOSCOW, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Leading Russian shares squeezed

higher on thin volumes in early trade on Friday, recovering some

ground after being routed by fears of a rouble devaluation and

talk of a banking crisis the previous day.

Flagship utility United Energy Systems <EESR.RTS>, an

electricity grid, edged 1.2 percent higher to $0.0825 while oil

major LUKOil <LKOH.RTS> jumped 13 percent to $5.35. Dealers said

the gains were made on extremely quiet trade.

"The market has opened with a small gain, a natural reaction

to yesterday's panic, which has subsided slightly," said Alfa

Bank trader Alexander Orekhov.

"The market will be volatile today, which underlines just

how nervous everyone on the market is," he added.

Other leading shares also gained slightly, with Rostelekom

<RTKM.RTS> up 3.17 percent to $1.30 and Mosenergo <MSNG.RTS>

adding 8.9 percent to $0.043.

The share market has been bit like other Russian markets by

worries that Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko's efforts to save

Russia from financial collapse will fail and that the country

will not be able to pay off its mountain of debts, leading to a

debt default and rouble devaluation.

((Moscow Newsroom, +7095 941-8520

moscow.newsroom@reuters.com))

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