Russian stocks headed for their biggest gain in a month after oil gained on optimism Europe’s debt crisis will be contained and as U.S. Thanksgiving retail sales reached a record.
The 30-stock Micex Index surged 2.8 percent to 1,449.79 by 12:55 p.m. in Moscow as VTB Group, OAO Sberbank, OAO Magnit and OAO Severstal all rose more than 3 percent. The dollar- denominated RTS Index increased 3.1 percent to 1,456.63.
“Record Thanksgiving sales in the US and rumors over the weekend of a $600 billion IMF loan to Italy set a positive note for today’s session,” Peter Szopo, head of research at Alfa Bank in Moscow, wrote in a report today.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 2 percent in midday trading after La Stampa newspaper said the International Monetary Fund is preparing a 600 billion euro ($799 billion) loan for Italy in case its debt burden worsens. That report, which didn’t cite anyone, followed U.S. retail data that showed a 16 percent jump in Thanksgiving sales to a record.
Oil, Russia’s biggest export earner, climbed a second day as the Arab League’s decision to impose sanctions on Syria over its lethal crackdown on protesters raised concern about the stability of supplies from the Middle East.
OAO Rosneft, the nation’s biggest crude producer, advanced 3 percent to 212.77 rubles, valuing the state-run company at about $71 billion. Smaller rivals OAO Lukoil and OAO Gazprom Neft gained 2.4 percent and 2.2 percent to 1,682.50 rubles and 138.85 rubles, respectively.
United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum company, jumped as much as 4.2 percent to 223.99 rubles after announcing on Nov. 25 that it has agreed to buy a 33 percent stake in the trading affiliate of China North Industries Corp., or Norinco, to help boost Asian sales.
OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest gas producer, increased 2.5 percent to 170.34 rubles. The state-run company on Nov. 25 agreed to cut prices for neighboring Belarus as part of a deal to gain the half of that country’s gas-pipeline network that it doesn’t already own.
VTB, the country’s second largest bank, increased 3.4 percent to 6.4 kopeks, while the biggest bank, Sberbank, added 4.2 percent to 81.75 rubles after the ruble rose against the dollar. A stronger ruble discourages Russians from converting savings into foreign currencies.
The Micex (INDEXCF) has lost 14 percent this year, trading at 5 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies. That compares with a 21 percent slide for Brazil’s Bovespa index, which trades at 9.9 times estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Shanghai Composite Index trades at 11.3 times estimated earnings, and the BSE India Sensitive Index has a ratio of 13.6.
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