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Russia Stocks Snap Two Days of Gains on Oil Drop, U.S. Economy

Russian stocks dropped, snapping two days of gains as oil fell and U.S. data along with concern over Europe’s debt crisis suggested the economic recovery may falter.

The 30-stock Micex Index slipped 0.5 percent to 1,606.21 by the 6:45 p.m. close in Moscow, as OAO Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, dropped 1 percent. OAO Novatek, the country’s biggest non-state gas company, retreated 1.3 percent. OAO Surgutneftegas, an oil producer, declined 2 percent.

U.S. gross domestic product data “helped send stocks lower,” Maria Kalvarskaia, head of equity research at TKB Capital in Moscow, said by phone today. “Uncertainty remains, causing any negative news to prompt a market correction” after two days of gains, she said.

Crude, Russia’s main export earner, declined as much as 1.7 percent after two days of gains. The U.S. economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, less than the median forecast of 2.2 percent, while jobless claims unexpectedly increased by 10,000 to 424,000 in the week ended May 21. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a drop to 404,000.

“Worries” about Europe’s debts, unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and the U.S.’s credit ratings “will persist for some time,” Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann said, according to the text of a speech prepared for the bank’s annual shareholders meeting today.

“There is no clarity about how the situation with Greek debt will be resolved,” said Kalvarskaia. “What will happen to commodities prices also remains unclear.”

Shares of X5 Retail Group NV, Russia’s largest retailer by sales, jumped to a six-week high after it reported first-quarter profit rose 23 percent to $96.9 million from a year earlier. The shares were up 4.8 percent at $40.87 in London trading.

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