Russian RTS stock-index futures fell after clashes broke out in Cairo between anti-government protesters and supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, signaling Russian stocks may halt a two-day advance.
Futures on the RTS Index expiring in March sank 0.3 percent to close at 192,240 in New York. The Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX), a U.S.-traded fund that holds Russian shares, fell 0.2 percent. Futures on OAO Gazprom, the country’s natural-gas export monopoly, were little changed, while contracts on OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, retreated 0.2 percent.
“We got Tunisia, we got Egypt -- who knows where it is going to go next,” Pablo Goldberg, global head of emerging market research at HSBC Holdings Plc, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London. “It’s really early to say how it is going to end.”
Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading rival to Mubarak, called on the army to end the unrest, which the UN said has left as many as 300 dead in the past week.
Political turmoil is spreading through the Arab world. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said yesterday he’ll step down when his term ends in 2013. Jordan’s King Abdullah sacked his prime minister. Tunisians ousted longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January. Algerian protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces.
“I don’t think that’s enough to turn appetite away from emerging markets in general,” Goldberg said in the interview. “There is still a strong appetite for EM.”
Russia’s Micex, the ruble-denominated 30-stock gauge, advanced to highest level since Jan. 17, climbing 0.5 percent to 1,765.42 yesterday in Moscow. The dollar-denominated RTS increased for a second day, adding 1.1 percent to 1,931.38.
OAO Raspadskaya and OAO Mechel (MTLR), Russian producers of coal for steelmakers, gained at least 1.4 percent after Steel Business Briefing reported a new cyclone in Australia may hurt coal supplies. Oil producer OAO Tatneft added 2.6 percent and Gazprom rose 2.3 percent.
Crude oil advanced in New York trading amid concern the Egyptian protests may threaten exports from the Middle East. Oil for March delivery settled at $90.86 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched $92.84 on Jan. 31, the highest intraday price since October 2008.
Russian stocks are “very inexpensive” and the country’s benchmark indexes are poised to rally 10 percent, Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom report, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Moscow yesterday. The Micex trades at 9.6 times the average earnings of its 30 members. The ratio is 13.6 in Brazil, 16.3 in India and 17.9 in China.
OAO Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest producer of the metal, slid 0.9 percent to 1,754.19 rubles. The company was cut to “underweight” from “equalweight” at Alfa Bank, which cited project delays and a reduction in output targets. Gold futures for April delivery lost $8.20, or 0.6 percent, to $1,332.10 an ounce at a close on the Comex in New York yesterday.
Micex shareholders agreed to buy a controlling stake in the rival RTS, merging the Moscow-based bourses, central banker Alexei Ulyukayev said Feb. 1 after Russian markets closed. The deal values the Micex at $3.45 billion and the RTS at $1.15 billion, First Deputy Chairman Ulyukayev said. Sixty-five percent of the transaction will be paid for in stock in the enlarged exchange and 35 percent in cash, he said.
RTS Shareholders Renaissance Capital, Alfa Bank, Troika Dialog, Aton Llc and Da Vinci Capital have agreed to the terms of the deal, RTS Chairman Jacques Der Megreditchian told reporters in Moscow on Feb. 1.
“Taking into account the strong prospects for the Micex IPO planned for 2012, we recommend that RTS minorities participate in the deal,” Tatiana Bobrovskaya, a senior analyst at Metropol IFC, said in an e-mailed report.