Russian stocks fell, paring the best monthly gain in almost two years, as OAO Sberbank dropped on bets the nation’s biggest lender will need additional capital to pay dividends at the level sought by government.
The Micex (INDEXCF) fell 0.8 percent to 1,473.62 by 11:38 a.m. in Moscow, trimming its strongest monthly increase since October 2011. Sberbank, which has the second-biggest weighting on the Micex at 14.5 percent, declined 1 percent to 100.54 rubles.
The country’s stocks are poised for an 8 percent gain this month after the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to refrain from reducing monetary stimulus. Sberbank would need to boost capital to pay 35 percent of income in dividends and lending would slow if such a rule was set, Interfax and RIA Novosti cited Chief Executive Officer Herman Gref as saying. Russia’s Finance Ministry is calling for state-run companies to increase payouts to at least 35 percent of profit under international accounting standards from 2016.
“This has been a pretty good month, investors into Russia played on the Fed’s decision to continue its stimulus program untouched,” Alexander Kostyukov, an analyst at Veles Capital, said by phone from Moscow. “Gref’s statement that Sberbank might need additional capital to pay higher dividends triggers questions where they would get that capital, perhaps, they’d need an additional share placement.”
Russia saw $206 million in equities inflows in the week ended Sept. 25, VTB Capital said in an e-mailed note today, citing EPFR Global data.
Crude dropped 0.4 percent to $102.59 in New York as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council agreed on a resolution to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Russia receives about half of its budget revenue from the oil and natural-gas industries.
OAO Pharmstandard, Russia’s biggest drugmaker, dropped 2.2 percent to 1,641.70 rubles. The company’s shareholders are scheduled to vote on the spin-off of its over-the-counter unit today.
OAO Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer, fell 1.8 percent to 173.50 rubles. The stock declined 2.5 percent to $26.72 in London. Suleiman Kerimov, who controls 33 percent in Uralkali with two business partners, began receiving offers from potential buyers for the company after its chief executive was arrested by Belarus on Aug. 26.
Trading volumes on the Micex were 6.4 percent below the 30-day average today, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Ten-day price swings tumbled to 12.947, the lowest since Sept. 4. The dollar-denominated RTS Index (RTSI$) retreated 1.2 percent to 1,434.47.
Even after this month’s rally, Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging economies tracked by Bloomberg. The Micex Index’s 12-month estimated price-to-earnings ratio was at 4.3 today, compared with a multiple of 10.5 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
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