Moscow's MICEX index in two-day shut down

The MICEX index, Moscow's leading stock exchange, shut down until Friday while trading on the RTS was suspended indefinitely after shares plummeted at opening on Wednesday.

The MICEX's headlong dive, dropping more than 14 per cent in the first half-hour of trading, compounded record losses in the last two days as Russia faces its worst financial crisis since the national default of 1998.

Trading on the MICEX, where most of Russia's stocks are traded, was suspended by market watchdogs at 11:05 am (0805 GMT) for two- days, reported dpa.

Russia's benchmark RTS index plunged over 11 per cent after opening and also saw trading suspended from 11:00 am.

It will not restart business until given the go-ahead by the Federal Financial Markets Service, the index's press service said.

Both exchanges suffered the steepest losses since their inception on Monday, and shares failed to bounce back on President Dmitry Medvedev's pledge of a new 36-billion-dollar rescue package in loans to banks.

The promised aid package adds to the 150 billion dollars to lenders in efforts to stave off the disastrous mix of a drop in oil prices and low investor confidence amid the global financial crisis.

The Kremlin's stopgap measures have failed to placate risk-averse investors still shaky after Russia's mid-August war with Georgia.

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