Russia Stocks Fall First Day in Three on Oil; Federal Grid Drops

Russian stocks fell for the first time in three days as crude oil declined and analysts speculated global leaders may fail to signal more stimulus measures.

The Micex Index declined 0.4 percent to 1,448.57 by the close in Moscow. Federal Grid Co. slumped 2 percent, while OAO MRSK Holding, a Russian electricity distributor, dropped 1.8 percent. OAO Surgutneftegas, an oil company, and OAO Novatek, a natural gas and liquids producer, both slipped 0.8 percent. OAO Aeroflot, the national carrier, added 1.7 percent.

Oil, Russia’s chief export earner, declined 1.2 percent to $94.97 in New York. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke -- returning this week to the scene of a 2010 speech that foreshadowed a second round of quantitative easing -- may disappoint investors looking for him to signal new stimulus, economists said before his Aug. 31 speech at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“The markets are looking to the end of the week, Bernanke is unlikely to implement more easing measures,” Mark Rubinstein, head of research at Metropol IFC, said by phone. “It’s a seasonally slow week, very low volume trading.”

The volume of shares traded in the Micex was 52 percent lower than the daily average of the past 30 days as London was closed for a public holiday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bernanke Expectations

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao called for extra measures to support exports and help meet economic targets, the official Xinhua News Agency said Aug. 25.

“This week, the discussion on markets will likely be dominated by what to expect” from Bernanke, Troika Dialog chief strategist Chris Weafer said in a research note. “Markets will also be sensitive to any further comments from German leaders” and the European Central Bank concerning Greece’s request to restructure its bailout deal, he said.

Billionaire Vladimir Lisin’s OAO Novolipetsk Steel, Russia’s steelmaker, rose 0.4 percent. Preferred shares of OAO Transneft gained 0.6 percent.

OAO Mobile Telesystems dropped 0.3 percent to $18.235 at 11:43 a.m. in New York before Russia’s biggest mobile phone company announces earnings tomorrow. Otkritie Capital cut MTS to hold from buy on the weaker ruble and reduced its price estimate for American depositary receipts to $21 from $22.80, according to today’s report.

Fund Outflows

Russia-dedicated equity funds posted outflows of $20 million in the week ended Aug. 22, compared with an inflow of $23 million a week earlier, according to Troika Dialog, which cited EPFR Global data.

The Micex trades at 5.4 times estimated earnings after gaining 3.3 percent this year. That compares with 10 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has added 4.9 percent.

Russian equities trade at the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The oil and gas industry contribute about 50 percent to the government’s revenue.

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