Russian equities climbed for a second day as billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov’s AFK Sistema led gains and speculation grew that the U.S. will maintain stimulus.
The 50-stock Micex Index added 1.8 percent to 1,320.39 by the close in Moscow, paring the slump this quarter to 8.2 percent. The dollar-denominated RTS Index, which entered a bear market June 5, increased 1.4 percent to 1,261.13. The Russian Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in RTS futures, tumbled 6.1 percent, the second day of declines.
OAO Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil company, may buy Sistema’s oil unit, OAO Bashneft, Vedomosti reported yesterday, citing people it didn’t identify. The cost of locking in China’s interest rates slid for a fourth day after the central bank pledged to ease the worst cash crunch in a decade. The U.S. grew less than previously calculated in the first quarter, boosting bets the Federal Reserve will keep its bond buying program.
“Sistema is reacting strongly because it would get a major cash boost if it sold Bashneft,” Ksenia Arutyunova, an analyst at Rye, Man & Gor Securities, said by phone from Moscow.
AFK Sistema, which holds about 87 percent of Bashneft, rose 5 percent to 28.60 rubles. Evtushenkov said he was unaware of the possible purchase yesterday and Rosneft’s spokesman declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.
Preferred shares of Bashneft slid 7.9 percent to a record-low 878.60 rubles, the sharpest retreat on the Micex. The company’s ordinary shares were the second-worst performer with a 2.3 percent drop to 1,904 rubles.
Rosneft became the world’s largest publicly traded oil producer by output in March when it bought TNK-BP from BP Plc and a group of billionaires in the country’s largest acquisition. Rosneft’s Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin proposed last month that the state-run company be accountable for TNK-BP’s dividends starting only from March 21, the day it acquired the venture in the $55 billion deal.
“Bashneft is weakening because of fears over the change in ownership and payouts to minorities,” Arutyunova said.
OAO TMK, the world’s biggest pipemaker by output, added 1.1 percent to 77.79 rubles. Morgan Stanley yesterday said TMK is less sensitive to a drop in raw-materials prices because Russia and the U.S. are its main markets and raised the stock to buy from neutral.
Brent oil fell 0.7 percent to $100.53 a barrel in London. Standard & Poor’s GSCI Commodities Index decreased 0.8 percent to 607.04.
Russian stocks slumped on June 20 after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the regulator will probably taper its bond buying later in 2013 and halt purchases around mid-2014 if the world’s largest economy performs in line with projections.
The country’s equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter grew 1.6 percent in the first three months, the slowest pace since 2009. Bank Rossii held its refinancing rate at 8.25 percent on June 10 after inflation accelerated for a second month in May to the fastest pace in 21 months.
Out of 50 stocks, 28 increased and 22 dropped on the Micex. The volume of shares traded on the gauge was 28 percent below the 30-day average, while 10-day price swings dropped to 21.309, falling for a second day.
Three stocks on the Micex closed yesterday at a 52-week low and one at a high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Eighteen stocks, or 36 percent, were trading above their 50-day moving average.
The Micex trades at 5 times its 12-month estimated earnings, having lost about 10 percent this year, compared with a multiple of 9.9 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which is down 15 percent. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in the U.S. climbed 0.8 percent to 83.21 today.