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Russia Stocks Snap Three-Day Drop on Ukraine Deal as MTS Climbs

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Russian stocks gained for the first time in four days as Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych signed a deal with opposition leaders and an increase in a U.S. manufacturing gauge signaled an improvement in global growth.

The Micex Index added 0.5 percent to 1,487.64 by the close in Moscow, after losing 1.8 percent in previous three days. OAO Mobile TeleSystems, Russia’s biggest wireless operator, climbed 1.2 percent to 285.59 rubles. OAO Gazprom, which sends more than half of its European gas exports via Ukraine, rose 0.7 percent to 149.18 rubles. OAO Rosneft, the nation’s biggest oil producer, climbed 1.4 percent to 249.75 rubles.

A council representing protesters backed Yanukovych’s call to hold early presidential elections to end the standoff. The crisis had threatened to push the country to the brink of a civil war as authorities reported 77 protesters were killed and 369 hospitalized in violence that began Feb. 18. In the U.S. the Markit Economics preliminary index of manufacturing rose yesterday to 56.7 in February, surpassing economists’ estimates.

“The U.S. growth and stabilization of the situation in Ukraine is helping us today,” Vadim Bit-Avragim, who helps oversee about $4.2 billion at Kapital Asset Management LLP in Moscow, said by e-mail. “The violence has stopped and that’s stabilizing our market. If a final decision is made and talks begin, our market will feel a relief. Gazprom is the most sensitive to the Ukraine crisis; MTS doesn’t benefit from the destabilization.”

Ukraine’s lawmakers reverted to the 2004 version of the country’s constitution today as part of the peace pact between the government and the opposition.

Ukraine Sanctions

In addition to MTS, which generated 15 percent of third-quarter net income in Ukraine, Gazprom, VimpelCom Ltd. and VTB Group have direct exposure to Ukraine, Sberbank Investment Research analysts said in an e-mailed note yesterday.

“Sentiment toward Russia remains dependent on the flow of news coming from the neighboring Ukraine,” Slava Smolyaninov, the chief strategist at UralSib Capital in Moscow, said in an e-mailed note.

The dollar-denominated RTS Index increased 1 percent to 1,315.54. The ruble has retreated 7.5 percent this year against the dollar, the worst performance after Argentina’s peso among 24 developing countries tracked by Bloomberg.

The nation’s equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 developing countries monitored by Bloomberg, with shares on the Micex trading at 5.4 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with a multiple of 10.2 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

“We had seen strong declines in the market earlier this week and today stocks are rebounding,” Evgeny Loktyukhov, an analyst at OAO Promsvyazbank in Moscow, said by phone. “U.S. manufacturing is in a good shape, which makes investors optimistic about growth.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ksenia Galouchko in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at

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