Russia Stocks Climb as Crude Oil Rebounds, VTB Group Advances

Russian equities gained as crude oil, the nation’s chief export earner, rose and VTB Group, its second-biggest lender, surged.

The Micex Index added 0.4 percent to 1,406.86 by the close in Moscow after losing 1.7 percent last week. VTB advanced for a second day, rising 3.5 percent to 4.65 kopeks, while its global depositary shares traded up 2.1 percent at $2.98. OAO Inter RAO UES jumped 4.2 percent to 1.41 kopeks, the biggest gainer in Moscow.

Russian stocks rose as much as 0.8 percent after May 17 data showed confidence among American consumers was the highest in almost six years. Russian funds posted $340 million in inflows in the week ended May 15, according to Renaissance Capital, which cited EPFR Global data. Crude gained 0.8 percent to $96.80 a barrel in New York, the fourth day of increases.

“U.S. data has been beating expectations lately and supporting the Russian market,” Stanislav Kopylov, who helps manage about $3.4 billion at UralSib Asset Management in Moscow, said by phone. “Fund inflows are making investors happy. Most likely, these are sovereign funds buying Russian shares. ”

The volume of shares traded on the Micex was 13 percent above the gauge’s 30-day average, while the index’s 10-day price swings fell to 17.70.

VTB, RusHydro

VTB climbed the most since April 30 after its pre-emptive rights offering for local shares closed, Natalia Berezina, an analyst at UralSib Capital, said by phone from Moscow. VTB will announce the results of its share placement on May 24, she said.

The state-run bank set the price for as much as $3.3 billion in new stock at 4.1 kopeks, according to an April 26 statement.

OAO RusHydro, Russia’s biggest renewable energy producer, erased earlier declines, adding 1.2 percent to 54.07 kopeks. The company’s board recommended paying 0.96 kopeks a share in 2012 dividends and paying 25 percent of net income under Russian accounting standards, according to today’s statement. RusHydro’s GDRs jumped 1.8 percent to $1.679.

Oil producer OAO Surgutneftegas dropped 0.9 percent to 26.140 rubles. OAO Tatneft fell 0.5 percent to 199.61 rubles, while OAO Bashneft added 2.1 percent to 2,051.30 rubles.

OAO PhosAgro, the nation’s biggest fertilizer producer, tumbled 4.9 percent to 1,224.10 rubles, the lowest since April 17. MSCI Inc. didn’t include the stock in its Russia Index during a May 15 rebalancing.

“There was disappointment that MSCI didn’t include PhosAgro into its index,” Kopylov said.

Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The Micex trades at 5.2 times its 12-month estimated earnings and has lost 4.6 percent this year, compared with a 10.6 multiple for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has dropped 0.7 percent in the period.

The dollar-denominated RTS Index traded up 0.8 percent at 1,417.05, advancing for a second day. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in stock futures, fell 0.6 percent to 20.61. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in the U.S. added 0.6 percent on today.

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