Russian stocks fell to the weakest level in a month as oil slumped to a six-week low and metals retreated, damping the investment appeal of commodity producers.
OAO Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel, Russian billionaire Viktor Rashnikov’s steelmaker, dropped 3.4 percent. OAO Gazprom, the country’s gas export monopoly, lost 1 percent. Oil producer OAO Gazprom Neft declined 1.6 percent. Those movements helped push the Micex Index of 30 stocks down 0.6 percent to 1,366.32 by the 6:45 p.m. close in Moscow. That was the weakest since July 21, and left the gauge down 0.4 percent this week.
Oil, Russia’s main export earner, declined to a six-week low as rising U.S. jobless claims and a contraction in manufacturing added to concern growth in the world’s biggest oil-consuming nation is slowing. Stocks in Russia extended losses after European Central Bank council member Axel Weber said policy makers should determine in the first quarter when to withdraw emergency lending measures.
Crude lost as much as 1.6 percent to $73.24 a barrel in New York trading and copper fell 1.1 percent to $7,222 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.
“There is a lot of bad news out there hitting investor sentiment,” Peter Westin, chief strategist at Aton Capital in Moscow, said by phone. “We are still seeing the ramifications of yesterday’s U.S. jobless number and there have been worrying comments today by the European Central Bank.”
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