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UPDATE 1-Rouble steadies near 73.5 vs dollar, MOEX hits record high

(Adds detail, updates prices)

MOSCOW, May 26 (Reuters) - The Russian rouble steadied on Wednesday, showing little reaction to government bond auctions, while the MOEX stock index hit a new record high amid a recovery in oil prices.

At 1233 GMT, the rouble was flat on the day at 73.49 remaining stuck in the 73-74 range for more than a week.

Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.1% firmer at 89.93 , compared with levels of about 80 a year ago.

The rouble is at risk of seeing downside pressure from Russian company dividend payments as shareholders usually prefer to convert their proceeds into foreign currency.

“This will weigh on the rouble, and we see it softening to 74 by the end of the week,” Sberbank CIB said in a note.

The rouble shrugged off two successful auctions of OFZ Treasury bonds in which the finance ministry raised a cumulative 40 billion roubles ($544 million) with demand totalling 122 billion roubles.

Yields on 10-year benchmark OFZ bonds, which move inversely with their prices, have stabilised in the 7.1%-7.2% range in the past few weeks, below 2021 highs of 7.4% seen in early April .

“In general, the balance of key factors for the market looks more comfortable now than a few weeks ago, but this hasn’t brought buyers, only decrease in market volatility,” Rosbank said in a note.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, was up 0.2% at $68.51 a barrel, as worries about an increase in supplies from Iran were offset by optimism about improving U.S. fuel demand.

Russian stock indexes were up, with the rouble-based MOEX Russian index reaching a record high of 3,717.33 points, before retreating to 3,706.3, up 0.5% on the day.

The dollar-denominated RTS index rose 0.5% to 1,588.3 points.

Russia’s stock market will climb to new highs this year thanks to higher commodity prices and still-low interest rates globally, although there are risks of a downside correction, a Reuters poll of market experts showed.

For Russian equities guide see

For Russian treasury bonds see

$1 = 73.4880 roubles Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by David Clarke

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