Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won a resounding first-round victory in Russia's presidential election on Sunday, according to exit polls.
Putin won 58.3 percent of the vote according to an exit poll from the state-controlled VTsIOM research group, and 59.3 percent in a survey by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), effectively ruling out a second round of voting.
Following are comments by analysts, economists and investors on the election outcome:
IVAN TCHAKAROV, CHIEF RUSSIA/CIS ECONOMIST AT RENAISSANCE
This is a positive result in the sense that Putin did not get well above 60 percent, which in my mind would have been very negative. He is getting a result that is broadly consistent with what the opinion polls were saying before the elections. So I would expect markets to react cautiously positively to that.
However, we do know that there are going to be protests. I think you have to keep two important things in mind. Investors are assigning much less risk premium to Russia relative to the situation after parliamentary elections when there was a lot of fear among investors.
There isn't any viable competition to Putin. The second thing is that Putin will have to be in charge of country which, from a macroeconomic perspective, is structurally different from the kind of economy he presided over from 2000-2008. It was very easy during his first two terms. This time it will be much more difficult for him to deliver the economic goods.
This means, in our view, that he will have an incentive to open up the economy, to make the economy more attractive, do something about corruption, do something about independence of the judiciary - the very things foreign investors are worried about. So in my view he will offer us a positive surprise, at least relative to expectations.
PLAMEN MONOVSKI, CIO, RENAISSANCE ASSET MANAGERS, MOSCOW:
I don't think the market was looking for a specific number ... The election is not an event for the markets any more. What they will look for is an outlook on the reform agenda, to liberalisation measures.
There will be a lot of interest in (reform of) tariffs in the utilities sector -- that would be a pretty good signal the government is on a reform path.
If there are protests, large-scale and sustained, the market will be concerned about populist measures -- we don't need them at this stage.
It is critical to underscore the high level of break even for the oil price. If the oil price falls, there is very little room to manoeuvre. There is no time to waste.
MURAT TOPRAK, CHIEF EMEA FOREX STRATEGIST AT HSBC, LONDON:
It is a big opportunity for Putin to change Russia. Now, as he is back in power, it is a good occasion for him to make necessary economic reforms.
The market reaction should be quite limited, or it could be slightly positive because the vote results mean there will be no uncertainties about the second round.
(Reporting by John Bowker, Jason Bush and Andrey Ostroukh, Compiled by Douglas Busvine)