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Russian Stocks Advance as Apple Profit Surges, Ruble Strengthens

Russian stocks advanced the most in a week as Apple Inc.’s better-than-expected quarterly results helped lift stock prices globally and the ruble surged to its strongest level in more than two months.

The 30-stock Micex Index (INDEXCF) rose 0.9 percent to 1,501.52 by 12:04 p.m. in Moscow, heading for its biggest daily advance since Jan. 17. OAO Sberbank (SBER) and VTB Group (VTBR), the country’s two largest banks, increased as ruble surged to 30.6332 per dollar, its strongest level since Nov. 15. The dollar-denominated RTS Index added 1.5 percent to 1,538.05, poised for its highest close since Dec. 5.

European and Asian stocks rose today after Apple’s quarterly profit more than doubled, beating analyst estimates, and as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee’s forecasts for its key interest rate. Brent oil for March settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange was at $110.25 a barrel, up 25 cents.

“Global markets are driving Russian indexes higher as investors look more upbeat after Apple results exceeded estimates,” Alexander Zakharov, head of international equity sales at Finam Investment Co, in Moscow, said by e-mail. “We could expect some fund inflows into equities since the stocks are cheap and most of the bad news related to a possible recession in Europe and a slowdown in the world economy is priced in.”

Sberbank jumped 2.7 percent, the biggest advance in the Micex Index today, to 87.27 rubles, heading for its strongest close since Dec. 5. VTB advanced 1.6 percent to 6.652 kopeks, poised for its highest level since Dec. 8.

Rosneft (ROSN), Russia’s largest oil company, rose 0.4 percent to 229.60 rubles, while OAO Gazprom (GAZP), the state-controlled gas export monopoly, jumped 1.3 percent to 185.50 rubles, erasing yesterday’s 0.5 percent drop.

The Micex is up 7.1 percent this year and trades at 5.7 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies.

The gauge retreated 17 percent in 2011, compared with an 18 percent drop for Brazil’s Bovespa index, which is valued at 9.9 times estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Shanghai Composite Index trades at 9.6 times estimated earnings, and the BSE India Sensitive Index has a ratio of 15.1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Denis Maternovsky in Moscow at dmaternovsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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