Russia Stocks Slide Fourth Day as Severstal Drops on Mine Blast

Russian equities sank for a fourth day as OAO Severstal, the steelmaker run by billionaire Alexey Mordashov, fell the most in two weeks after an explosion at one of its coal mines.

The Micex Index dropped 0.3 percent to 1,515.89 by the close in Moscow. Of 50 stocks, 28 declined and 21 advanced. The dollar-denominated RTS Index lost 0.5 percent to 1,581.95.

A gas blast at a Severstal mine in the north of the country killed at least 16 miners, prompting President Vladimir Putin to order the emergencies minister to fly to the site and handle the response to the disaster. Severstal closed down 2.5 percent at 355.80 rubles.

Russian equities have the lowest valuations based on estimated earnings among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The Micex trades at about 5.7 times estimated earnings and has added 2.8 percent this year. That compares with a multiple of 10.3 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has gained 0.3 percent over the same period.

Bank Rossii will hold the refinancing rate at 8.25 percent for a fifth month at tomorrow’s meeting in Moscow, according to 21 of 22 economists in a Bloomberg survey. One predicted a cut.

Russia, the largest emerging nation to raise rates in 2012, is facing growing government pressure to ease monetary policy after economic growth last year slowed to 3.4 percent, the weakest since a 2009 recession.

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