Russia Stocks Head for Biggest Weekly Drop in 5 Months on Greece
Russia’s Micex (INDEXCF) Index headed for the biggest weekly drop this year as Europe’s debt crisis deepened and crude oil, the country’s main export earner, retreated on worse-than-expected U.S. economic data.
The 30-stock Micex was little changed at 1,288.02 by 3:06 p.m. in Moscow, poised for a 6.9 percent loss in the week, the most since December. The gauge’s 3.5 percent drop yesterday took its decline from a March 14 high to more than 20 percent, breaching the threshold analysts say marks a so-called bear market. OAO Transneft fell 5.1 percent. OAO Raspadskaya, a coal producer, lost 17 percent this week. Preferred shares of OAO Surgutneftegas, the country’s fourth-largest oil producer, retreated 20 percent in the week.
Oil was little changed in New York, headed for its third weekly decline. Moody’s Investors Service lowered debt ratings at 16 Spanish banks, while Fitch Ratings cut Greece’s credit rating on concern the country may not be able to sustain euro membership. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index slid to minus 5.8 in May, data showed yesterday. China’s home prices fell in a record number of cities in April.
“The most complicated factor that continues to weigh down the Russian market is the threat of Greece exiting the European Union,” Victor Bark, who oversees $1 billion in assets as the head of asset management at Alfa Capital Partners Ltd., said by phone from Moscow. “Moody’s rating is adequately reflecting the situation in Spain. The market is oversold, the panic should stop, but there is still more room for a decline.”
Russia received almost 50 percent of budget revenue from oil and gas sales last year, according to government estimates. Brent traded down 0.5 percent at $106.93 a barrel.
The MSCI Russia Energy Index (MXRU0EN) lost 12 percent this week.
Russia-focused equity funds posted redemptions of $53 million in the week ended May 16 compared with $188 million the week before, according to Troika Dialog, which cited EPFR data.
“The news flow from the European debt front remains unsupportive,” Peter Szopo, the head of research at Alfa Bank, wrote in an e-mailed note. “Yesterday’s U.S. data were poor. Chinese data also came in weak this morning.”
Russia was the first of the so-called BRIC countries to enter a bear market in 2012. The BSE India Sensitive Index is down 12 percent from its peak and Brazil’s Bovespa Index is down 21 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) has been in a bear market for more than a year.
OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, traded little changed at 80.73 rubles. The bank’s shares have dropped 11 percent this week and trade at 5.2 times estimated earnings. The MSCI Russia Finance Index (MXRU0FN) slid 15 percent this week.
“Whoever was selling Russia this week, was selling Sberbank as a key Russian company,” Bark said.
The dollar-denominated RTS fell 2.9 percent to 1,275.73, the lowest intraday level since Oct. 7. The index’s 3.6 percent slide on May 14 saw it breach the bear-market threshold.
Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov turned down the post of deputy prime minister for industry as Medvedev tries to form a new government, Vedomosti reported today, citing unidentified Kremlin officials.
Sergei Kiriyenko, chief executive officer of Rosatom Corp., declined to become deputy prime minister for energy, while Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina won’t continue in her post in the new government and also turned down an offer to become a deputy prime minister for social issues, Vedomosti said.
A Kremlin official, who declined to be identified because of state policy, said Prokhorov hadn’t been offered a post and declined to comment on Kiriyenko, when contacted by Bloomberg. Yuliana Slaschova, Prokhorov’s spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Anton Siluanov is likely to keep his position as Finance Minister, Interfax reported, citing Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak.
Medvedev will not announce the members of the new cabinet today, the Prime Minister said during the budget meeting in Moscow today.
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