Russian Stocks Jump Most in Month on Sberbank Profit, Uralkali

Russian stocks rallied the most in almost a month as OAO Uralkali, the world’s biggest potash producer, surged on bets prices will rise and OAO Sberbank, the nation’s largest lender, gained after posting a profit increase.

The Micex Index (INDEXCF) added 1 percent to 1,484.70 by 4:48 p.m. in Moscow, the most since Dec. 19, paring a 1.3 percent slide since the start of the year. Uralkali advanced 6 percent to 178.19 rubles, its strongest gain since Sept. 16. Sberbank, which has a 14 percent weighting on the Micex, traded up 1.3 percent at 100.55 rubles.

Russia’s benchmark equity gauge climbed after Sberbank said lending growth helped lift preliminary 2013 net income under Russian accounting standards 13 percent. Uralkali’s trading arm is seeking higher prices for Brazilian and Chinese buyers, according to research companies Fertecon Ltd. and Argus FMB Potash. Uralkali’s press-service declined to comment on price talks when contacted today.

“Sberbank is maintaining positive results despite the economic slowdown,” Vadim Bit-Avragim, who helps oversee about 148 billion rubles ($4.4 billion) at Kapital Asset Management in Moscow, said by phone. “Uralkali is rising on speculation that Brazilian potash prices will increase.”

OAO Magnit, the nation’s biggest food retailer, gained 5.3 percent to 8,841.70 rubles, the best advance since July 23 on a closing basis. UralSib Capital yesterday raised the stock to buy from hold, citing its recent declines. Russia’s $2 trillion economy should rebound, driving gains for Magnit and X5 Retail Group NV, Bank of America Corp. analysts said.

Investor Panic

Magnit dropped the most since October 2011 after it said revenue growth slowed to 23 percent in December from 29 percent a month earlier, according to a statement on Jan. 10. Magnit is set to report fourth-quarter results on Jan. 27, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Magnit increased 2.5 percent to $60.90 in London, while Sberbank added 0.4 percent to $12.07. Uralkali jumped 2.9 percent to $26.79.

“Investors panicked after Magnit’s results last week, now they’re buying the stock,” Bit-Avragim said.

MSCI Emerging Markets Index traded up 0.2 percent. The dollar-denominated RTS Index (RTSI$) increased 0.7 percent to 1,398.34, paring this year’s 3.1 percent retreat.

Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 developing-nation economies monitored by Bloomberg, with shares on the benchmark Micex trading at 4.4 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with a multiple of 10.3 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in Moscow at kgalouchko1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at wmoskwa@bloomberg.net

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