Russian stocks rose, extending their first weekly advance in four, as a U.S. jobs report showed hiring in the world’s largest economy increased more than expected in December, spurring demand for riskier assets.
The 30-stock Micex (MICEX) index climbed 0.4 percent to 1,440.60 at the close in Moscow, extending its weekly gain to 2.7 percent. OAO Rosneft (ROSN) and OAO Lukoil, Russia’s largest oil companies, both moved higher as Urals crude gained as much as 0.6 percent to $111.05 a barrel.
U.S. employers added 200,000 to their payrolls in December, according to the Labor Department, more than the gain of 155,000 forecast by the median projection in a Bloomberg News survey. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009.
“Russian stocks are so cheap, and assuming Europe doesn’t do very badly over the next year, many of them are due a rebound,” Arjun Jayaraman, who manages $400 million in emerging-market equities at Causeway Capital Management in Los Angeles, said in a phone interview.
The Micex trades at 5.4 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies, the lowest among the so-called BRIC nations which include Brazil, India and China. The index lost 15 percent in 2011, compared with an 18 percent slide for Brazil’s Bovespa index, which trades at 9.2 times estimated earnings according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Shanghai Composite Index trades at 8.7 times estimated earnings, and the BSE India Sensitive Index has a ratio of 13.8.
Mobile carrier OAO Mobile Telesystems (MTSS) led gains in Russian stocks, climbing 5 percent to 198.56 rubles.
“The Russian mobiles have been among the strongest earnings outlooks for this year,” said Zoltan Palfi, a London- based analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, who has an “outperform” rating on MTS.
Rosneft and Lukoil (LKOH) rose 1.1 percent 221.22 rubles and 1.2 percent to 1,740.60 rubles respectively.
The Russian markets are open during the country’s New Year holiday until Jan. 10. A total 21.9 billion shares were traded on the Micex yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, compared with a daily average of 46.7 billion last month.
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