UPDATE 1-Energy sector dragged down Russian shares, rouble flat
* RTS, MICEX down on profit taking
* Mechel underperforms after financial report
* Rouble broadly flat
MOSCOW, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Russian shares fell on Tuesday after a rally the day before, led by the heavyweight energy sector, and the rouble edged lower, showing little reaction to comments by the central bank on inflation concerns ahead of a policy meeting.
The dollar-based RTS stock index inched down 0.4 percent to 1,508.1 points, and the rouble-traded MICEX fell 0.3 percent at 1,485.6 points by 1444 GMT after it had gained 2 percent on Monday.
Russian steel and coal miner Mechel was a major loser, falling 3.5 percent after it surprised with a net loss for the second quarter
"Everyone is waiting for the teleconference, maybe, if Mechel elaborates on its strategy, it may improve the mood," said Pavel Koryshev, a trader at Univer Capital.
The energy sector also dragged stock indices down, with Gazprom down 1 percent, after Monday's gains pushed shares to levels that encouraged some investors to take profits.
"Only yesterday, it seemed the market had the strength to return to a growth trend but now there are only few buyers ... However, all the factors needed to stay above current levels exist," said Koryshev.
VTB , Russia's No.2 lender, outperformed the market, gaining 1.2 percent, on the day when Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed an investor conference, organised by the state bank.
Putin played up Russia's prospects, despite concerns about the slowdown in China and the euro zone crisis, expecting the economy to achieve average growth of 4 percent over the next three years.
By 1500 GMT the rouble eased 0.1 percent to 31.09 against the dollar . Versus the euro, the rouble shed 0.4 percent to 40.19 . It weakened 0.25 percent to 35.18 versus the euro-dollar basket despite a hawkish tone expressed by the central bank.
The first deputy chairman of Russia's central bank, Alexei Ulyukayev, said on Tuesday he expected the rouble to remain stable and considered the risks of inflation to be greater than those of an economic slowdown.
"With Urals oil prices in the range of $110-115 per barrel, we see fundamental factors to be supportive for rouble stability. However, rouble exchange rate volatility is likely to remain high, and interday and interweek fluctuations of the rouble may exceed 50-80 kopecks," Julia Tsepliaeva, the chief economist at BNP Paribas, said in note.
The rouble was trading in the middle of the central bank's target range against a dollar-euro currency basket, in which the regulator does not intervene.ï¿½
The central bank will meet to discuss rates on Friday, Oct. 5. Economists, polled by Reuters last Friday, expected no change in rates in October, while the Russian economy is losing momentum, although they expected rates and inflation to rise before the end of the year.
Tight liquidity in the Russian money market, with overnight banking rates hovering above 6 percent following the tax payment period, supported the Russian currency.
Budget expenditures should boost liquidity and drag the rates down in the beginning of the fourth quarter, analysts say.
However, local demand for foreign currencies linked to obligations to pay off weighs on the rouble, said Anton Zakharov, an analyst at Promsvyazbank.
Russian banks and companies are to redeem $8 billion in October, $2,5 billion less than in September, according to central bank data.
(Reporting by Maya Dyakina and Zlata Garasyuta, editing by Jason Bush/Ruth Pitchford)
Keywords: RUSSIA MARKETS/