Russia Stocks Retreat Second Day on Sberbank Drop, Europe Woes

Russian equities fell for a second day as OAO Sberbank slid and concern Europe’s debt crisis will deepen curbed appetite for riskier stocks.

The Micex Index declined 0.3 percent to 1,525.88 by the close in Moscow. Sberbank, the nation’s largest lender, dropped 1.2 percent, the most in almost three weeks. Prefered shares of OAO Bashneft, a regional oil producer, added 1 percent as oil climbed 0.5 percent to $117.34 in London.

Sberbank fell for a second day after its program for converting local shares into foreign-traded stock hit a ceiling, offsetting the 9 percent profit gain it posted for January. The stock advanced as much as 0.6 percent in London. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled policy makers are concerned that the euro’s advance could damp inflation and hamper an economic recovery.

“The market uses the European gatherings as an excuse for a correction, for profit-taking,” Vladimir Bragin, head of research at Alfa Capital in Moscow, which manages $2.9 billion, said by phone.

Sberbank, which has the largest weighting in the Micex at 15 percent, said in a statement yesterday that its depositary receipt program had reached its limit. Depositary receipts can only account for 25 percent of a company’s shares and 50 percent of its listed shares, under Russian regulations.

OAO Aeroflot, Russia’s biggest airliner, added 3.1 percent to 55.83 rubles, the largest gain on the Micex. The amount of shares traded was 5.7 million, equivalent to about 2.2 times the three-month average.

The dollar-denominated RTS Index slid 0.5 percent to 1,595.36. The Russian Depositary Index fell 1.1 percent.

Euroclear Debut

Euroclear Bank SA announced it will start direct settlement of ruble-denominated government debt today, opening the $100 billion so-called OFZ market to foreign investors.

Equities won’t be Euroclearable until July 2014 because officials are concerned an increase in outside investors will hurt liquidity, Oksana Derisheva, deputy director of the primary market at the exchange, said in an interview on Nov. 16 in Moscow.

The Market Vectors Russia ETF, the largest dedicated Russian exchange-traded fund, dropped 1.3 percent to $30.26. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in the stock futures, increased 1.3 percent today to 20.14.

The number of shares traded on the Micex was 2.5 percent above the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The 10-day volatility retreated to 10.614, the lowest since Dec. 28.

The Micex trades at about 5.7 times estimated earnings and has added 3.5 percent this year. That compares with a multiple of 10 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has gained 0.5 percent over the same period.

Russian equities have the lowest valuations based on estimated earnings among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg.