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Russia Stocks Rise First Time in Four Days as Crude Oil Advances

Russian stocks rose for the first time in four days as crude oil, the nation’s chief export earner, advanced, bolstering investor confidence in the world’s biggest energy exporter.

The Micex Index added less than 0.1 percent to 1,462.27 by the close in Moscow. Power utility OAO MRSK Holding surged 4.5 percent. OAO Magnit, Russia’s biggest food retailer by market value, increased 1.5 percent. Coalminer OAO Mechel rose 0.8 percent while VTB Group, Russia’s second-biggest lender, advanced 1 percent.

Oil gained as much as 1.9 percent to $92.94 a barrel in New York after losing 1.2 percent yesterday, the lowest close since Oct. 8. Russia received almost 50 percent of budget revenue from oil and gas sales last year. Italy sold 3.75 billion euros ($4.8 billion) of its benchmark three-year bonds at an auction today after investors bid for 1.67 times the amount offered, up from 1.49 times last month.

“The oil price is helping Russia today,” Peter Westin, chief equity strategist at Aton Capital in Moscow, said by phone. “At the same time, we’re not seeing Russia outperform other emerging markets in the region, which is disappointing.”

The Istanbul Stock Exchange and Hungary’s Budapest Stock Index both climbed at least 1 percent today.

Stocks extended gains after fewer Americans than forecast filed first-time applications for unemployment benefits. Labour Department figures showed that claims for jobless benefits fell to 339,000 last week, the fewest since February 2008.

Commodities Rally

Russian stocks fell as much as 0.5 percent earlier. S&P lowered Spain’s debt rating to one level above junk, citing increasing economic and political risks. Japan’s machinery orders dropped more than economists forecast and China’s passenger car sales unexpectedly shrank for the first time in eight months.

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 raw materials climbed as much as 1.5 percent. Russian Depositary Index gained 0.3 percent to 1,667.26.

The Market Vectors Russia ETF, the biggest U.S.-traded exchange-traded fund that holds Russian shares, slid 0.9 percent to $28.68 in New York yesterday.

Chemical holding OAO Poliplast plans to list 24 percent of its shares on the Moscow Exchange, Vedomosti reported today, citing two people close to the deal.

Megafon, X5

OAO MegaFon, Russia’s second-largest wireless carrier by customers, sought to reassure investors a day after making an initial public offering filing that revealed Goldman Sachs Group Inc. would no longer be on the share sale.

“Corporate governance is very important to MegaFon,” MegaFon spokesman Petr Lidov said by e-mail yesterday. “We decided to launch the IPO on October 9 and we are working with banks that were ready to go ahead with us on that date.”

X5 Retail Group NV erased an earlier gain and tumbled as much as 3 percent to $19.50 in London after Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s retailer cut its 2012 sales growth forecast.

Revenue may grow 7 percent to 9 percent in ruble terms this year, compared with a previous forecast of 15 percent, Chief Financial Officer Kieran Balfe said on a conference call today. “We see negative stock triggers ahead,” Renaissance Capital analysts led by Natasha Zagvozdina wrote in an e-mailed report today.

Shares earlier rallied after the company said net sales for the third quarter climbed to 115.9 billion rubles ($3.7 billion), compared with 105 billion rubles a year earlier. The volume of shares traded was about 49 percent of the stock’s 3-month daily average, according to Bloomberg data.

The Micex trades at 5.6 times estimated earnings after gaining 4.3 percent this year. That compares with a multiple of 10 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has added 8.8 percent.

Russian equities have the lowest valuations based on estimated earnings among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg.

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