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Russian Stocks Rise First Time in Four Days as Ruble Strengthens

Russian stocks climbed for the first time in four days as the ruble’s gain helped lift OAO Sberbank, the nation’s biggest lender, and declines over the last two weeks were seen as overdone.

The Micex Index added 1 percent to 1,456 by the close in Moscow, paring its loss since Jan. 21 to 3.2 percent. Sberbank rose 1.7 percent to 95.51 rubles, increasing for the first time in 10 days, as the currency rebounded for a second day. OAO, which runs a chain of consumer electronics and home appliances stores, closed 1.6 percent higher at 231.99 rubles.

The Micex’s 14-day relative strength index fell yesterday in intraday trading to 30, a threshold that signals to some technical analysts a security has probably fallen too far and is poised for a rebound. The RSI, which measures the velocity of price movement to determine overbought and oversold conditions, rose to 42 today. A weaker ruble hurts retailers by making imports expensive, while banks suffer as Russians withdraw and convert local-currency deposits.

“While the risk of further declines remains, the market has been oversold,” Anvar Gilyazitdinov, who manages about $10 million at Rye, Man & Gor Securities in Moscow, said by phone. “Investors are very focused on the ruble’s exchange rate.”

The ruble gained against the dollar, adding 0.5 percent to 34.8405, after slumping to its lowest level in almost five years on Feb. 3.

Russia’s equity measure dropped this year as a report on Jan. 31 showed growth in 2013 was less than half the previous year’s pace, falling short of economist forecasts, and the U.S. Federal Reserve cut stimulus.

Emerging Stocks

Russian stocks have fallen amid a rout in developing-nation securities. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has lost 8.6 percent this year, dropping 2.2 percent this week. The ruble has slumped 5.8 percent against the dollar this year, the fifth-worst performer among 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Fed policy makers reduced the pace of bond buying for a second straight meeting on Jan. 29. The Micex Index advanced an average 77 percent during the Fed’s first two rounds of debt purchases, and fell 0.6 percent in periods of no stimulus, the biggest difference of 46 emerging and developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.

OAO Aeroflot, the nation’s biggest airline carrier, dropped 0.6 percent to 76.21 rubles. A 6.9 percent increase in group passenger turnover in December is a slowdown from previous months, according to VTB Capital and Sberbank CIB. The traffic in December “slowed” to 7 percent, which is below the industry’s 10 percent growth, VTB Capital analysts led by Elena Sakhnova said in an e-mailed note.

The dollar-denominated RTS Index added 2 percent to 1,317.50, after falling to the lowest level since Aug. 30 yesterday. Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 developing-nation economies monitored by Bloomberg. Shares on the Micex trade at 3.1 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with a multiple of 9 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

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