Russia Stocks Fall Most in Month as Sberbank Drops on Capital

Russian stocks retreated the most in a month as OAO Sberbank dropped on bets the nation’s biggest lender will need additional capital to pay dividends at the level sought by the government.

The Micex fell 0.9 percent to 1,471.89 by the close in Moscow. The gauge is still up 7.9 percent in September, the biggest monthly increase since January 2012. Sberbank, which has the second-biggest weighting on the Micex at 14.3 percent, declined 2.9 percent, the most since June 20, to 98.70 rubles.

Russian stocks rallied after the Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to refrain from reducing monetary stimulus.

The Finance Ministry is calling for state-run companies to increase payouts to at least 35 percent of profit under international accounting standards from 2016. Sberbank would need to boost capital to meet that level and lending would slow if such a rule was set, Interfax and RIA Novosti cited Chief Executive Officer Herman Gref as saying.

“This has been a pretty good month, investors into Russia played on the Fed’s decision to continue its stimulus program untouched,” Alexander Kostyukov, an analyst at Veles Capital, said by phone from Moscow. “Gref’s statement that Sberbank might need additional capital to pay higher dividends triggers questions where they would get that capital, perhaps they’d need an additional share placement.”

Stock Inflows

Russia saw $206 million in equities inflows in the week ended Sept. 25, VTB Capital said in an e-mailed note today, citing EPFR Global data.

Crude rose 0.5 percent to $103.53 in New York. Russia receives about half of its budget revenue from the oil and natural-gas industries.

OAO Pharmstandard, Russia’s biggest drugmaker, dropped 1.5 percent to 1,652.50 rubles. The company’s shareholders approved the spin off of its over-the-counter unit today.

OAO Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer, fell 3 percent to 171.39 rubles in Moscow and 3.7 percent to $26.40 in London. Suleiman Kerimov, who controls 33 percent in Uralkali with two business partners, began receiving offers from potential buyers for the company after its chief executive was arrested by Belarus on Aug. 26.

OAO RN Holding jumped 12 percent to 60.20 rubles, the biggest gain on record since the December 2010 listing as owner OAO Rosneft’s Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin said the oil producer will buy back minority shareholders at a market premium. State-controlled Rosneft will comply “voluntarily” with a government order to buy back the stock, Sechin said today at an investor conference in Sochi, Russia. Rosneft added 0.9 percent to 265.40 rubles.

‘Acceptable Way’

“I think the management of Rosneft and the government itself understood that it would be better for them and better for the market as a whole that this was done in an acceptable way,” Mattias Westman, CEO of Prosperity Capital Management Ltd., which oversees about $4.5 billion of Russian assets, said by phone from London.

Trading volumes on the Micex were 11 percent above the 30-day average today, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Ten-day price swings tumbled to 13.352 from 15.956. The dollar-denominated RTS Index retreated 1.3 percent to 1,432.87.

Even after this month’s rally, Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging economies tracked by Bloomberg. The Micex Index’s 12-month estimated price-to-earnings ratio was at 4.3 today, compared with a multiple of 10.5 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE