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Russian Stocks Drop for 1st Day in 4 on Metals, Euro Debt Fears

Russian stocks slid for the first time in four days as metal and oil prices slumped amid mounting skepticism that Europe will be able to resolve its debt crisis.

The Micex Index of 30 stocks declined 1.6 percent to 1,358.70 at 3:50 p.m. in Moscow, paring an earlier loss of as much as 2 percent and set for its biggest decline in a week. Billionaire Vladimir Lisin’s OAO Novolipetsk Steel slid 2 percent, while bigger steelmaker OAO Severstal dropped 1.5 percent. OAO Magnit, Russia’s largest supermarket by market value, retreated 5.4 percent. The dollar-measured RTS Index decreased 1.2 percent to 1,350.06.

A planned reinforcement of the European bailout fund, known as the EFSF, faces a vote today in Slovakia’s parliament, with one party in the governing coalition holding out against approval. Russian stocks jumped 2.2 percent yesterday after Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to unveil a plan within three weeks to end Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

“Investors are faltering now on mounting skepticism towards plausibility of Sarkozy/Merkel,” Julian Rimmer, a trader of Russian shares at CF Global Trading in London, wrote in e-mailed comments today.

Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange fell the first day in five. Aluminum, nickel, lead, tin, aluminum and steel also slipped in London. OAO Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of the metal, fell 0.7 percent to 6,327 rubles.

Crude Oil

Oil fell from its highest in more than two weeks in New York before a government vote in Slovakia on the euro area’s bailout fund that may endanger a recovery in the region’s economy.

OAO Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil producer, slumped 2.4 percent to 193.34 rubles while OAO Lukoil, the second-largest producer, lost 0.7 percent to 1,658.8 rubles.

The Micex has lost 19 percent this year and trades at 4.8 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies. That compares with a 23 percent slide for Brazil’s Bovespa index, which trades at 9.3 times estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Shanghai Composite Index trades at 10.8 times estimated earnings, and the BSE India Sensitive Index has a ratio of 14.

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