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Russia Stocks Climb to Two-Month High on Gazprom, Oil Above $82

Russian stocks posted their highest close in more than two months as crude oil traded above $82 per barrel and Vedomosti reported OAO Gazprom would pay a record dividend.

The world’s biggest gas producer gained 3.4 percent to 170.27 rubles, its biggest jump since Feb. 16. The preferred shares of state pipeline operator OAO Transneft advanced 6.5 percent, helping push the Micex up 0.3 percent to 1,443.81, its highest level since Jan. 20.

Gazprom will pay a record 100 billion-ruble ($3.4 billion) dividend on profits of 600 billion rubles last year under Russian standards, Vedomosti reported today, citing two unidentified people close to the company. The company’s shares account for 14 percent of the Micex Index by weighting. Crude oil traded above $82 a barrel for a second day, pushing the ruble to its strongest close since March 19, as the outlook for the world’s biggest energy exporter improved.

“Gazprom is outperforming the market and the ruble is in play,” Luis Saenz, a London-based director of international sales at brokerage Otkritie Securities Ltd., said by phone.

The country’s equity market, the best performing last year worldwide, retreated in February on concern rising interest rates in China and ballooning deficits in Europe will hamper economic recovery. The Micex has rebounded 8.3 percent in March as commodities rallied.

Copper for delivery in three months rose as much as 0.8 percent to $7,835 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the highest compared with intraday prices since August 2008. Zinc, tin and nickel gained.

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