Russian stocks climbed for a sixth day as improving Chinese data boosted appetite for metal producers and OAO Uralkali, the nation’s biggest potash producer, surged.
The Micex Index added 2 percent to 1,451.54 by the close in Moscow for the longest winning streak since December and the highest level since March 21. Uralkali led gains by percentage points on the index, increasing 9.2 percent to 177.01 rubles, the strongest rally since October 2011. OAO Mechel, Russia’s largest coking-coal producer, climbed 6.1 percent to 106 rubles.
China’s August exports beat economists’ forecasts, helping extend the Micex’s 4.3 percent advance in the five days through Sept. 6, the biggest weekly jump since 2011. Mikhail Gutseriev, the owner of oil producer OAO Russneft, and billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov are weighing an opportunity to buy Suleiman Kerimov’s stake in Uralkali, whose chief executive officer was arrested in Belarus last month, Forbes reported.
“I don’t see an easy solution for the Uralkali crisis without changing owners, so this is a positive development,” Aleksei Belkin, who helps manage about $4.4 billion in assets as chief investment officer at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow, said by phone. Improving Chinese economic data means “it’s time to buy riskier assets,” he said.
Anton Averin, a spokesman at Kerimov’s Nafta Moskva, denied that Kerimov sold his shares in Uralkali and declined to comment if the billionaire had received offers. Uralkali jumped 10 percent to $26.78 in London.
Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging economies tracked by Bloomberg, with shares trading at 3.8 times 12-month estimated earnings, compared with a multiple of 10.4 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny claimed voting in Moscow’s mayoral election was rigged after an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin narrowly won. Acting Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin received 51.4 percent of the vote, just avoiding a run-off, while Navalny received 27.2 percent.
“This election legitimized the opposition and Navalny as its candidate,” Kapital’s Belkin said. “I think investors will see this as positive news because this marks the start of a legitimate political process.”
Stocks climbed last week after weaker-than-forecast U.S. payroll data spurred bets the Federal Reserve won’t pare its bond-buying program and stoked investor appetite for riskier emerging-market assets. Chinese exports rose 7.2 percent last month, compared with the 5.5 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey, data showed yesterday.
Steelmaker OAO Severstal added 1.5 percent to 293 rubles. The stock increased 2.1 percent to $8.84 in London. OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, rose for a seventh day, climbing 1.4 percent to 4,710 rubles, the longest winning streak in more than three years.
Crude oil, Russia’s main export earner, retreated 0.8 percent to $109.68 a barrel in New York. OAO Gazprom, Russia’s biggest company, surged 4 percent to 147.60 rubles, the highest since Jan. 21. The stock jumped 4.6 percent to $8.87 in London.
The volume of shares traded on the Micex was 63 percent above the 30-day average, while 10-day price swings rose to 20.04.
The dollar-denominated RTS Index increased 2.6 percent to 1,380.37. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian stocks in New York rose 1.4 percent today, while the Market Vectors Russia ETF, the largest dedicated Russian exchange-traded fund, gained 1.9 percent.