Russian stocks down, rouble steady ahead of tax period

* Rouble slightly up on oil, tax payments

* Russian stocks down ahead of U.S. banks' earnings report

MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Russian shares were set to end the week in the red on Friday, as investors remained cautious over the failing health of the global economy, while the rouble was steady ahead of monthly tax payments.

At 0824 GMT, the dollar-traded RTS index

had shed 0.3 percent to 1,485 points and the rouble-based MICEX

was down 0.3 percent to 1,458.

Market players saw quiet trading in the first half of the day and expect earnings reports from U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase

and Wells Fargo

to define sentiment at market close.

Russian coking coal miner Raspadskaya

underperformed the market with a more than 1.0 percent fall, hurt by weak operating results for the third quarter


However, oil prices remain supportive of Russia's commodity heavy bourse, hovering above $115 per barrel of Brent

on the back of tensions between Turkey and Syria and strong U.S. jobs data.

The rouble firmed in early trading but then steadied against the dollar at 30.99

and was marginally higher at 40.19 against the euro

and at 35.13 against the dollar-euro basket, which the central bank uses as guidance for the rouble's nominal rate


"Upcoming tax payments will support the rouble, but any disappointment of investors may break the current trend," analysts at ING bank wrote in a note.

The rouble and the Mexican peso

remain the most attractive currencies for global investors, said Mikhail Paley, a trader at VTB Capital.

Goldman Sachs analysts see the rouble steady at 31.0 against the dollar in three months, supported by a higher current account surplus, expectations of another interest rate hike by the central bank and the liberalisation of the local debt market.

"In our view, the rouble is becoming a high-yielding currency in the current low-yield global environment," Goldman Sachs economists wrote in a research note.

Russia's local debt market remains attractive for foreign investors, with the spread on six-year OFZ treasury bonds over Russia's rouble Eurobond maturing in 2018

narrowing further to 65 basis points. Its 10-year bond was trading at a bid-ask split of 7.65-7.33 percent.

"Non-residents' interest in the local market continues to rise ahead of access being granted via Euroclear, supporting interest in swapping expensive rouble Eurobonds in favor of the locally-traded OFZs, which carry a superior yield," analysts at Sberbank investment research wrote in a note.

Russian Markets Latest Net % % Change Change on year STOCKS MICEX 1458,36 -4,76 -0,33 4,00 RTS 1485,64 -4,77 -0,32 7,51

London ADRs

857,00 -0,65 -0,08 10,09

Emrg Mkt Indx

998,03 2,08 0,21 8,91

MSCI Russia

793,98 -1,36 -0,17 7,77


92,53 -0,11 -0,12 17,33 VTB 0,05 -0,00 -0,29 -7,40 Gazprom 153,66 -0,59 -0,38 -10,30 LUKOIL 1938,00 -3,20 -0,16 13,83 Rostelecom

133,56 -1,41 -1,04 -12,13


30,99 -0,02 -0,07 -3,61


40,19 -0,03 -0,08 -3,72

Rouble basket

35,13 -0,03 -0,08 -3,66

DEBT Bid Ask %Rtn Coupon Russia 10-yr

7,65 7,33 -0,36 7,60

bond MONEY MARKET Bid Ask Close Overnight rate 6,35 6,85 6,30 TABLE FROM POWER PLUS PRO

All data taken from Reuters at 0824 GMT

(Reporting by Maya Dyakina; editing by Patrick Graham)

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