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Russian Stocks Drop to 2012 Low as Europe Elections Weaken Oil

Russian stocks fell, pushing the 30-share Micex Index to the lowest level this year, as oil declined for a fourth day.

The Micex dropped as much as 2.6 percent before trading down 0.1 percent at 1,385.14 by the close in Moscow, the lowest level since Dec. 28. The dollar-denominated RTS Index lost 0.1 percent to 1,488.64. Trading volumes declined as the country had a public holiday.

Oil, Russia’s main export earner, fell 2 percent to $96.55 per barrel in New York after France elected Socialist Francois Hollande as president and Greek voters flocked to anti-bailout parties, casting doubt on Europe’s ability to reduce public debt. The European Union is Russia’s largest trading partner.

Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter and the largest producer of nickel and palladium, got almost 50 percent of budget revenue from oil and gas sales last year, according to government estimates.

A total 20 billion shares changed hands on the Micex, according to data on the exchange’s website, down from the 53.7 billion traded May 4. Russia has public holidays until May 10.

OAO Novolipetsk Steel fell 5 percent to 53.03 rubles, the lowest close since June 2009. OAO Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works slid 2.4 percent to 10.903 rubles.

President Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a third term in the Kremlin today. Hundreds of protesters were detained at a rally in central Moscow yesterday after clashes with police.

Russia’s Micex trade at 5 times estimated earnings, having lost 1.1 percent this year. That compares with a 9.2 percent gain for the MSCI Emerging-Market Index which trades at 10 times projected earnings.

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