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    Panic as Russian stock market falls by almost 20%

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    The Russian stock market gave in to panic on Monday with the MICEX dropping 18.6% to 752 points and the RTS falling by 19.1% to 866.39 points - the worst losses since the 1998 crash.

    MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian stock market gave in to panic on Monday with the MICEX dropping 18.6% to 752 points and the RTS falling by 19.1% to 866.39 points - the worst losses since the 1998 crash.

    Russia's financial system has been affected by a global credit crunch which started in the U.S. and quickly spread to Asia and Europe leading to record losses on Russia's financial markets, rising interest rates and a liquidity shortage.

    Sergei Sheikov, managing director for corporate clients at the Olma Company said: "Monday became one of the blackest days for most market participants - for the first time since 2005 the RTS index closed below the psychologically important benchmarks of 900 and 1,000 points."

    Losses for many blue chip stocks exceeded 20% with Norilsk Nickel shares worst hit as they plunged 30.2%. The losses forced the closure of the MICEX, Russia largest index, and RTS three times on Monday.

    Fears regarding the spread of financial crisis caused all world markets to plunge, which contributed to Russia's market losses. Britain's FTSE 100 experienced its worst day since 1987 as stocks plunged 7.85% and France's Cac 40 index fell 9.04%, and in the U.S. shares fell below the 10,000 point level for the first time in four years as they shed 4.65%.

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