Russia Stocks Rally as Oil Rises; Polyus Gains on Prokhorov Sale

Russian shares gained after falling to a two-month low yesterday as crude oil rebounded, stoking appetite for stocks in the world’s biggest energy exporter.

The Micex Index added 0.2 percent to 1,496.61 by the close in Moscow, paring its weekly drop to 0.8 percent, with 15 shares down and 35 rising. The Moscow-traded unit of Polyus Gold International Ltd. surged as much as 8 percent, while shares in London rose as much as 5 percent. OAO MRSK Holding gained 3.9 percent, the most in more than a month. The dollar-denominated RTS Index climbed 0.2 percent to 1,551.04.

Oil, Russia’s main export earner, increased as much as 0.7 percent in New York, the first advance in three days. Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Holdings Ltd. sold a 37.8 percent stake in Polyus Gold to Zelimkhan Mutsoev and Gavriil Yushvaev for $3.62 billion after the deal was approved by the U.K. Takeover Panel, Onexim said in a statement. The Micex tumbled 1.2 percent yesterday to the lowest since Dec. 28.

“Traders are looking to sweeten the end of an otherwise bitter week,” analysts at UralSib Capital wrote in a report.

The Ifo institute’s German business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, climbed to 107.4 in February from a revised 104.3 in January. Germany is Russia’s biggest trade partner, a relationship underpinned by rising German gas and oil imports.

“Crude oil and commodities bounced up after German business confidence beat expectations,” Anton Shelogurov, who manages about $6.3 million in Russian equities at Petrocommerce Bank in Moscow, said by e-mail.

Alrosa, Mostotrest

Ten-day price swings on the Micex spiked to 15.57, the highest since Jan. 18, while the number of shares traded on the gauge was 58 percent below the measure’s 10-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The ruble strengthened 0.3 percent against the dollar to 30.4100.

The Micex trades at about 5.6 times estimated earnings and has added 1.5 percent this year. That compares with a multiple of 10 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has lost

0.3 percent over the same period.

OAO Mostotrest dropped 1.4 percent, extending the biggest weekly decline on the Micex at 10 percent. OAO Alrosa gained 0.9 percent, extending an 11 percent increase in the week, the biggest on the Micex. Russia selected Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to handle the government’s 7 percent stake sale in the diamond miner.

Russian equity funds posted $26 million in outflows in the week ended Feb. 20, according to an UralSib Capital e-mailed, which cited EPFR Global data.

Preferred shares of OAO Rostelecom dropped as much as 3.4 percent, closing down 0.9 percent at 90.30 rubles. The company will probably miss a fall 2013 deadline to merge with the state holding company Svyazinvest, the Vedomosti newspaper reported today, citing unidentified Rostelecom board members and a person close to the company shareholders.

Buyout Delayed

Russia’s Federal Agency for State Property Management said Rostelecom’s price valuation by Ernst & Young is too high and wants to hire another consulting agency, the paper reported.

“For the preferred stock, we think the news is negative as the buy-out for those who abstain from voting or vote against is delayed,” VTB Capital analysts said in an e-mailed note today. “There is much more uncertainty now over the buy-out price than before, although we still think it might provide upside for prefs.”

The Russian Depositary Index added 0.1 percent, led by depositary receipts of AFK Sistema, which surged 2.5 percent as the owner Vladimir Evtushenkov said today the holding plans to boost dividends “by multiples.” Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index increased 0.2 percent.

The Market Vectors Russia ETF, the largest dedicated Russian exchange-traded fund, declined 1 percent to $29.20 yesterday. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in futures, fell 4.7 percent to 19.94 points today. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian stocks in the U.S. lost 1.3 percent.