Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Russian equities fell for the first week in five as OAO Gazprom, the country’s biggest company, said dividends may be cut on lower profit. Volatility dropped to a two-year low.
The Micex Index declined 0.4 percent to 1,519.94 by the close in Moscow, the lowest level since Jan. 16, extending its 1.8 percent retreat in the week. Out of 50 stocks, 35 dropped, one was unchanged and 14 rose. The 10-day volatility retreated to 6.8126, the lowest since December 2010. The dollar-denominated RTS Index slid 0.3 percent to 1,590.13.
Gazprom lost as much as 1.6 percent, before closing down 1 percent at 137.60 rubles, extending this week’s 3.4 percent decline. The natural gas export monopoly said it may pay 7 rubles to 8 rubles a share for 2012 dividends, compared with 8.97 rubles paid for 2011, according to an investor presentation today. Net income for 2012 is seen at $38 billion compared with $44.5 billion a year earlier, it said.
“The market is really disappointed by Gazprom’s dividends,” Elena Savchik, an analyst at Aton Capital in Moscow, said by phone. “Last year they paid really generous dividends, investors were rewarded. Now, as net income has declined, they reduced their dividend payouts as costs rose.”
Gazprom has the second-biggest weighting on the Micex at 14 percent. The amount of shares traded was 45 million, equivalent to about 1.4 times the three-month average.
Russia-dedicated funds lost $79 million in the week ended Feb. 6, according to an e-mailed note from UralSib Capital, which cited EPFR Global data.
Crude oil, Russia’s main export earner, advanced 0.6 percent to $96.36 after stronger-than-expected trade data from China, the world’s second-biggest user. China’s exports climbed 25 percent in January from a year earlier and crude imports increased to the highest level in eight months, customs figures showed.
OAO Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port added 2.5 percent to 3.63 rubles, extending its 9.5 percent increase in the week, the biggest on the Micex.
OAO Mechel, Russia’s largest coking coal producer, declined 1.8 percent to 194.10 rubles for a 5 percent drop in the week, the steepest on the Micex. All metals advanced on the London Metal Exchange.
The Market Vectors Russia ETF, the largest dedicated Russian exchange-traded fund, added 0.1 percent to $30.34 yesterday. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in the stock futures, dropped 1.5 percent today to 19.59.
The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian stocks in the U.S. gained 0.4 percent. The number of shares traded on the Micex was 22 percent above the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The Micex trades at about 5.7 times estimated earnings and has added 3.1 percent this year. That compares with a multiple of 10 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has gained 0.4 percent over the same period.
Russian equities have the lowest valuations based on estimated earnings among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg.
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