The Micex Index dropped after five sessions of gains from the highest level since Russia’s incursion into Crimea as some investors speculated the advance was overdone.
The benchmark stock gauge retreated 0.2 percent to 1,382.98 by 11:30 a.m. in Moscow as 21 stocks rose, 27 fell and two were unchanged. Oil producer OAO Lukoil dropped 0.3 percent while OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the world’s biggest producer of the metal, declined 0.9 percent.
The Micex jumped to the strongest since Feb. 28 yesterday after President Vladimir Putin and Didier Burkhalter, chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, agreed on the need for talks in Ukraine after weekend referendums on independence in two eastern regions. The nation’s equities trade at five times estimated earnings, the lowest valuation among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg.
“The market is taking a breather after yesterday’s strong growth,” Andrey Verkholantsev, head of research at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow, said by phone. “Russia’s muted reaction towards the independence referendums makes investors believe the Crimea scenario won’t be repeated.”
The ruble strengthened for a third day versus the central bank’s target basket, rising 0.3 percent to 40.5235. The stronger ruble supports consumer and domestic-oriented stocks by making imports less expensive and boosting consumer spending power, while hurting exporters who earn revenue in dollars.
Putin and Burkhalter agreed on the need for more OSCE action to stabilize Ukraine, the Kremlin said on April 12. The EU added two companies and 13 individuals to the list of those sanctioned and made legal changes to allow expropriated companies in Crimea to be targeted.
Putin has been accused by the Ukrainian government and its allies of stoking separatist unrest. The self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic declared itself a sovereign state yesterday after saying 90 percent of voters backed breaking away from Ukraine on April 11. Separatists in neighboring Luhansk announced a similar move.
A vote of the same kind preceded Putin’s seizure of Crimea in March, a month after his ally in Kiev, President Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted in a popular uprising.
MSCI Inc. will announce the results of its quarterly index rebalancing today after the market close. OAO Alrosa may enter MSCI Russia, while Federal Grid Co. may be cut, UBS AG analysts said in a note. Federal Grid declined 1.7 percent, while Alrosa climbed 2 percent.