Futures Rise on GDP Surprise as Sberbank Jumps: Russia Overnight

Russian equity futures rose as data showing the nation’s economy expanded more than analysts predicted in the third quarter boosted the appeal of the cheapest stocks among the biggest emerging markets.

Futures expiring in December on Moscow’s RTS Index added 0.2 percent to 140,050 in New York, and the Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in the U.S. climbed for the first time in four days. OAO Rostelecom led gains on the gauge, while American depositary receipts of OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, rose for a second day on trading volumes triple their three-month average.

Gross domestic product in Russia grew 2.9 percent last quarter, the statistics service said yesterday, beating the 2.8 percent median estimate of 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey and the Economy Ministry’s own forecast set last month. The benchmark Micex Index traded for 5.41 times estimated company earnings, up from a two-month low of 5.39 times reached on Nov. 9. That compares with a multiple of 13.8 for the main index in India, 10.7 for Brazil and China’s 8.8.

“Russia’s economy didn’t slow as much as was expected and there are no threats comparable to those that the U.S. and European economies are facing,” Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at brokerage Otkritie Financial Corp., said by phone from Moscow yesterday. “Russian equities are cheap and therefore attractive at these levels, especially when you put the prices into the context of economic growth.”

Drought Impact

The Market Vectors Russia ETF, the largest dedicated Russian exchange-traded fund, rose 0.7 percent to $27.31 in New York.

The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in futures, slipped 0.2 percent to 27.12 points. Open interest on puts to sell RTS futures expiring in December fell yesterday, after reaching a record 865,576 contracts on Nov. 8, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Russia’s economy expanded in the third quarter at the slowest pace since its recovery began at the start of 2010 as droughts ravaged crops and slowing growth in China and a slump in Europe curbed demand for shipments of oil, natural gas and metals.

The 30-stock Micex climbed 0.5 percent to 1,407.90 in Moscow yesterday, while the ruble was little changed at 31.6101 per dollar. Futures on the ruble were steady at 31.819 versus the greenback yesterday in New York.

Sberbank ADRs gained 0.5 percent to $10.99 in the U.S. One ADR equals four ordinary shares. The stock rose 1.2 percent to 86.80 rubles, or $2.74, in Moscow yesterday, where volumes were about 60 percent of the average over the past three months.

MegaFon Resumption

OAO Mobile TeleSystems, Russia’s biggest mobile phone company by subscribers, rose 1.8 percent to $16.97 in New York, settling at a 17.2 percent premium versus its Moscow-listed stock, the biggest gap since Oct. 22. The shares fell 0.3 percent to 229.04 rubles, or $7.23 on the Micex. One ADR is equal to two shares.

Rostelecom, a state-run telecommunications operator, advanced 2.1 percent to $22.62. The Moscow-based company’s stock in Moscow increased 1.6 percent to 119.33 rubles. One ADR is equal six shares. VimpelCom Ltd., world’s sixth biggest mobile phone company by subscribers, dropped 0.3 percent to $10.67 in New York, the lowest level since Sept. 4.

OAO MegaFon, Russia’s second-largest mobile-phone company by customers, plans to resume its initial public offering as early as this week, according to people with knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified as the matter is confidential. MegaFon, which is planning a dual listing in London and Moscow, is valued at as much as $11 billion by investors, people familiar with the matter said last month.

Crude Falls

CTC Media Inc., which owns Russia’s CTC television channel and is listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, climbed 1.8 percent to $8.50, gaining for the first time in four days in New York yesterday. The Moscow-based company forged a deal with Walt Disney Co. to screen movies and cartoons on its channel in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, according to a statement yesterday.

Oil, Russia’s chief export earner, dropped in New York yesterday, falling for the first time in three days as European policy makers met to discuss aid for Greece and a report showed Japan’s economy shrank.

Crude oil for December delivery declined 0.6 percent to $85.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent oil for December settlement declined 0.3 percent to $109.07 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Urals crude, Russia’s chief export blend, sank 0.5 percent to $107.66.

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