March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market stocks advanced for second day, led by energy companies, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t want to split up Ukraine amid the biggest diplomatic crisis since the Cold War.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index increased 1 percent to 952.48. The Micex Index jumped 4.1 percent in Moscow as OAO Gazprom surged, while the dollar-denominated RTS Index led gains among the 94 world equity gauges tracked by Bloomberg. Benchmark gauges in Hungary and Turkey advanced at least 1 percent. Thailand’s baht rose to a three-month high after the Cabinet approved lifting the state of emergency tomorrow, while China’s yuan had the biggest three-day drop since 2007.
Equities rallied after Putin said Russia wishes no harm to Ukraine and has no ambitions in other regions, while signing a treaty to absorb Crimea and its port city of Sevastopol. The decision to annex Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula defied sanctions imposed yesterday by the U.S. and the European Union and prompted western nations to threaten with tougher measures.
“That rhetoric reinforces our comfort to go into the market,” Keith Wirtz, the chief executive officer at Walrus Partners LLC, said in a telephone interview from Minneapolis. “There may be a lot of noise coming from the Western countries, but not much action.”
The Micex posted the biggest two-day advance since 2010 in Moscow as Gazprom surged 5.6 percent, while the RTS jumped 4.2 percent. The Finance Ministry pulled its sixth bond auction this year after borrowing costs climbed. Ukraine’s UX Index rallied 2.4 percent.
Brazil’s Ibovespa rose the most among major benchmarks in the Americas as Kroton Educacional SA led a rally in consumer stocks after the for-profit college’s earnings exceeded analysts’ estimates.
China’s yuan slumped on concern rising financial risks will weaken growth in the world’s second-largest economy. Zhejiang Xingrun Real Estate Co., a closely held company with 3.5 billion yuan ($565 million) of debt, has collapsed and its largest shareholder has been detained, government officials familiar with the matter said yesterday.
Thailand’s baht rose for a fourth day as Deputy Prime Minister Yukol Limlamthong said the emergency decree, which was imposed on Jan. 22, would be ended before it was scheduled to expire on March 23. Most Indian stocks climbed after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the country’s elections may fuel further gains in stocks.
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index exchange-traded fund rose 1.4 percent to $39.41. The premium investors demand to own emerging-market debt over U.S. Treasuries added 0.01 percentage point to 323 basis points, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
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