UPDATE 2-Rouble pares losses after Trump rekindles stimulus hopes, Sberbank pays dividends

(Updates prices, adds details on Trump)

MOSCOW, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The rouble pared losses to firm against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday and stocks recovered from multi-month lows, with shares in Russia’s top lender Sberbank outperforming peers, as U.S. President Donald Trump rekindled hopes for a stimulus package.

The rouble remained under pressure from lingering geopolitical risks and rising COVID-19 cases at home and abroad, with Russia reporting a new record daily high of 16,319 coronavirus cases.

By 1519 GMT, the rouble was 0.3% stronger against the dollar at 77.43 but had lost 0.2% to trade at 91.55 versus the euro.

Trump pushed for a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package, saying he would accept a deal worth more than $2.2 trillion despite opposition to large spending measures among his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate, giving a boost to riskier assets.

Russia’s central bank, which slashed rates this year to help the economy amid the coronavirus crisis, is expected to keep rates on hold this Friday ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.

Given the rouble’s weakening of the past few months, the central bank is likely to hold the key rate at 4.25% but may maintain its dovish tone regarding its future policy, said Valentin Zhurba, head of investment at MKB Private Bank.

Russian hacking attempts were in the spotlight after Britain and the United States on Monday condemned what they said were a litany of malicious cyberattacks orchestrated by Russian military intelligence, allegations Moscow denied.

Russian stock indexes were up after dropping in early trade.

Shares in Sberbank rose 3.1% after it said it had started paying 2019 dividends to the tune of 422.4 billion roubles ($5.45 billion), a record high for the Russian market.

Dividend payments can harm the rouble as investors sometimes convert rouble-denominated proceeds into foreign currency.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.4% higher at 2,805.2 points, bouncing off its lowest mark since July 20 hit earlier on Tuesday.

The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.6% to 1,141.4 points.

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