Russia’s Micex Index Climbs 2nd Day as Gazprom, Norilsk Advance

Russia’s benchmark equities index rose for a second day as OAO Gazprom, the country’s natural-gas export monopoly, and OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, its biggest miner, advanced.

The Micex Index increased 0.8 percent to 1,522.69 by the close in Moscow. Out of 50 stocks, 32 gained, 17 fell and one was unchanged. Financial stocks led the gains among nine industry groups as OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, rose 2.1 percent, the most since Jan. 28.

Gazprom, which has the second-largest weighting on the Micex at 14 percent, climbed 1.3 percent after losing 2.6 percent last week. Norilsk rose 2.6 percent. The Micex has lost 1.6 percent this month after rallying 4.9 percent in both December and January.

“The Russian market was oversold, we’re going to see it bounce back,” Alexander Ivanischev, the head of research at Infina Investment Co. in Moscow, said by phone. “Gazprom is rebounding from last week’s losses.”

The dollar-denominated RTS Index added 0.9 percent to 1,592.74. OAO Dixy Group, a food retailer, surged 2.6 percent to 475.85 rubles, a record high since the shares’ listing in June 2007. OAO LSR Group fell 1.7 percent to 673.10 rubles.

Ten-day price swings on the Micex rose to 13.901 and the number of shares traded on the gauge was 42 percent below the measure’s 10-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Oil, Russia’s main export earner, added 0.1 percent to $95.97 a barrel. Russia receives about half of its budget revenue from oil and natural gas.

Retail Sales

Russian retail sales grew at the slowest pace in almost three years in January as unemployment surged and inflation sapped household purchasing power. Retail sales advanced 3.5 percent from a year earlier, down from 5 percent in December, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said in a report today. Economists forecast a 4.8 percent increase, according to the median of 19 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Russian equities have the lowest valuations based on estimated earnings among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The Micex index trades at about 5.7 times estimated earnings and has added 3.3 percent this year. That compares with a multiple of 10 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has gained 0.9 percent over the same period.