March 25 (Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market stocks rose to a two-week high, led by Russia, as Western leaders urged the nation to de-escalate the crisis surrounding Ukraine.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.5 percent to 958.49. The Micex climbed 2 percent in Moscow as investors speculated the U.S. and the European Union won’t ratchet up sanctions over the annexation of Crimea. Real-estate companies led Egypt’s EGX 30 Index to the highest since 2008. The Ibovespa rose for a seventh day as a rally in commodity shares overshadowed a cut of Brazil’s rating by Standard & Poor’s.
Russian markets are rebounding after a selloff this month as President Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Ukraine’s Crimea region sparked a stand off between Russia and the U.S. an Cold War. The country’s equities trade at the cheapest valuations among 21 developing countries monitored by Bloomberg. The ruble has risen in six of the last seven days as exporters sell foreign-currency revenue to pay tax.
“Any sense that geopolitical concerns are being slightly pushed to one side or diminished allows Russia’s valuations to get some traction,” John Lomax, emerging-market strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc, said by phone from London.
Russia’s ruble added 1.5 percent to 41.6654 against the central bank’s dollar-euro target basket by 6 p.m. in Moscow, the strongest level on a closing basis since Feb. 24. The Micex gauge posted the biggest gain among emerging-market indexes tracked by Bloomberg.
Egyptian stocks rose to the highest level in more than five years as investors speculated property developers would benefit from an army agreement with Arabtec Holding Co. to build low-income housing.
Brazil’s Ibovespa capped its longest rally since August, led by Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore producer. Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA declined after S&P lowered the power utility.
Most Chinese stocks rose as Shanghai-based companies rallied on expectations the city will accelerate reforms of state-owned enterprises. The benchmark money-market rate rose for a ninth day, the longest winning streak in a year, as the central bank drained cash from the financial system.
The premium investors demand to own emerging-market debt over U.S. Treasuries slipped five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 310 basis points, JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes show.
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