Russian stocks swung between gains and losses as crude oil, the nation’s chief export earner, rose, while OAO Pharmstandard slid on its planned exclusion from the nation’s benchmark gauge this month.
The Micex Index (INDEXCF) climbed less than 0.1 percent to 1,450.01 by 12:27 p.m. in Moscow, after earlier dropping as much as 0.5 percent, with 31 stocks rising, 16 down and three unchanged. OAO Mechel, Russia’s biggest coking-coal producer, added 1.9 percent to 60.10 rubles as it won a debt waiver. Pharmstandard, the nation’s biggest drugmaker, fell 2.4 percent to 1,420.50 rubles, retreating for a second day.
Crude oil jumped 1.2 percent to $97.15 in New York, its fourth day of gains. A group of lenders, including ING Bank NV, Societe Generale SA and UniCredit SpA, agreed to delay payments on Mechel’s $1 billion loan until 2015 and 2016, according to a company statement released yesterday. Pharmstandard and OAO Mosenergo will be excluded from the Micex and RTS indexes from Dec. 17, a statement on the Moscow Exchange website said earlier this month.
“Oil has bounced up nicely,” Vadim Bit-Avragim, who helps oversee about 160 billion rubles ($4.8 billion) at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow, said by phone. The delay gives Mechel time to optimize the business, Bit-Avragim said, while adding “we’re seeing global fund managers trying to sell” declining markets.
Russian stocks slumped 2 percent last month, the worst drop since May, amid concern an economic recovery in the world’s biggest energy exporter is foundering. The Micex has lost 1.7 percent this year.
VTB Group, OAO Sberbank and OAO Gazprombank account for about 58 percent of Mechel’s debt, according to the company’s annual report. Prices for coking-coal, which is used in the $1.3 trillion market for steel, have dropped 15 percent this year.
OAO Bank St. Petersburg and OAO KamAZ will replace Pharmstandard and Mosenergo in the benchmark and RTS indexes.
The dollar-denominated RTS Index (RTSI$) rose 0.1 percent to 1,373.57. Russia’s equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging-market economies monitored by Bloomberg, with shares on the benchmark trading at 4.2 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with a multiple of 10.5 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
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