Russian stocks sank the most in more than two months as economic data fueled speculation U.S. stimulus will be curbed, paring appetite for riskier assets.
The Micex Index lost 2.3 percent to 1,391.37 by the close in Moscow, dropping the most since June 11. The gauge rose to the strongest since July 17 yesterday. OAO Gazprom, Russia’s biggest company and natural-gas export monopoly, sank 2.6 percent to 131.05 rubles after advancing 7.7 percent in the previous five days. United Co. Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, slid 5.3 percent to 106.40 rubles, the biggest drop on the Micex.
Russian shares led declines among emerging-market stocks as U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in almost six years, Labor Department data showed today. Sixty-five percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict the Federal Reserve will opt to pare its bond purchases in September.
“The uncertainty of not knowing what the Fed will do is weighing on the markets,” Vadim Bit-Avragim, a portfolio manager at Kapital asset Management in Moscow, said by phone.
The 14-day relative strength index on the Micex subsided to 52 from 63 yesterday, the highest in three weeks. The RSI measures how rapidly prices have advanced or dropped during a specified time period. Readings below 30 indicate a security may be poised to rise, while those above 70 signal a potential drop.
The Micex rallied 4.5 percent in the four days through Aug. 14. The dollar-denominated RTS Index dropped 2.1 percent today to 1,327.49.
Investor concern the Fed will trim stimulus offset a fifth day of gains for brent crude as worsening violence in Egypt fanned concern that Middle East oil supplies may be disrupted. Russia receives about half of its budget revenue from the oil and natural gas industries.
Brent climbed 0.8 percent to $111.10 a barrel in London. OAO Lukoil, the nation’s biggest non-state controlled crude producer, tumbled 1.7 percent to 1,945 rubles.