May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Russian stocks rallied from a two-year low, jumping the most in three months as oil, the country’s main export earner, climbed.
The 30-stock Micex Index added 2.2 percent to close at 1,284.48 in Moscow, the strongest gain since Feb. 24. Stocks retreated as much as 1.2 percent earlier. OAO Sberbank rose 3.6 percent as three people familiar with the matter said the country’s biggest lender is near a deal to acquire the Turkish unit of Franco-Belgian bank Dexia SA. Oil producers OAO Tatneft and OAO Surgutneftegas gained 5.8 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Federal Grid Co. tumbled 6.2 percent.
Oil rose as much as 1.8 percent after closing below $90 a barrel for the first time in seven months yesterday. European Union leaders called for Greece to stick with budget cuts to stay in the euro. The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments declined last week.
“The EU summit gave the market hope that the leaders came to a decision that Greece will remain in the Eurozone,” Anton Fedorov, an analyst at Kapital Asset Management in Moscow, said by phone. “The situation remains critical.”
Crude, Russia’s main export earner, added 1.5 percent to $91.25 in New York. Brent oil rose 1 percent to $106.58. Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, received almost 50 percent of budget revenue from oil and gas sales last year, according to government estimates.
In a worst-case scenario following Greece’s exit from the euro area, Russia’s economy would contract 2.1 percent with the potential for $95 billion in capital leaving the country in a year, Ksenia Yudaeva, chief economist at Moscow-based OAO Sberbank, the country’s biggest lender, said by phone yesterday.
Sberbank Chief Executive Officer German Gref said today capital inflows into Russia won’t resume until global outlook improves. Gref said he sees “clear” signs of insufficient liquidity in Russia and urged the central bank to introduce new liquidity instruments.
Sberbank, eastern Europe’s largest lender, rose to 81.57 rubles. Sberbank and Dexia may sign an “exclusivity agreement” on the sale of Denizbank as early as tonight, said two people who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. The Moscow-based lender may agree to pay as much as 1.5 times Denizbank’s book value, said one person close to the deal.
Applications for U.S. jobless benefits decreased by 2,000 to 370,000 in the week ended May 19 from a revised 372,000 the prior week, Labor Department figures showed today. The initial claims matched the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those receiving extended payments dropped.
Russia was the first of the so-called BRIC countries to enter a bear market in 2012 last week after the dollar-denominated RTS Index fell more than 20 percent from a March 15 peak.
Trading volumes on the exchange declined this week, with 45.5 billion shares changing hands on the Micex today, according to data on the exchange’s website, down from 70.7 billion May 18.
Russian stocks trade at 4.4 times estimated earnings, having gained 1 percent this year. That compares with a 1.4 percent drop for the MSCI Emerging-Market Index which trades at 9.2 times projected earnings. MSCI EM Index rose 0.7 percent to 903.53.
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