Russia Stocks Drop 1st Day in 3 With Gazprom on Dividends, RWE

Russian equities sank for the first time in three days as OAO Gazprom, the natural gas export monopoly, retreated after lowering its dividend forecast and losing a tribunal to RWE AG over gas prices.

The 50-stock Micex Index fell 0.5 percent to 1,313.23 by the close in Moscow, extending its slump this quarter to 8.7 percent. The Russian Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in RTS futures, declined 2.6 percent, dropping for a third day. Gazprom slipped 2.2 percent to 107.75 rubles.

Gazprom cut its dividend forecast for 2013 to between 6 rubles to 8 rubles a share from 8 to 9 rubles on an estimated drop in net income, according to a presentation. RWE was awarded a reimbursement for payments to Gazprom since May 2010 by an arbitration tribunal, which also adjusted the pricing formula of the contract, the Essen-based company said today.

“The news on Gazprom is really bad,” Alexei Yazikov, head of research at Aton Capital LLC, said by phone from Moscow.

Russia required state-backed companies pay at least 25 percent of net income as dividends in November, without saying whether the payouts should use Russian or international accounting rules.

“Dividends were the only hope for investors in state-owned companies,” Yazikov said.

Gazprom sees 2013 net income falling as much as 10 percent because of repayments to European customers and higher taxes. The stock tumbled 1.7 percent to $6.535 in London.

The company’s board recommended in May a 2012 payout 33 percent less than the previous year as profit fell. The dividend is equal to 25 percent of net income based on domestic accounting rules and 12 percent under international standards.

Lukoil Iraq

Brent oil rose 1.1 percent to $102.80 a barrel in London. Standard & Poor’s GSCI Commodities Index increased 0.8 percent to 615.51. Crude futures added 1.3 percent to $96.78 in New York.

OAO Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, fell 0.4 percent to 1,859.10 rubles, the first day in three. Lukoil added 0.4 percent to $56.60 in London. Iraq oil output will be delayed to 2014, Interfax reported, citing CEO Vagit Alekperov. Lukoil has the biggest weighting on the Micex at 14 percent.

OAO Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer, slumped 2.5 percent to 223.28 rubles.

The dollar-denominated RTS Index, which entered a bear market June 5, was little changed at 1,262.77.

Russian stocks slumped on June 20 after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the regulator will probably taper its bond buying later in 2013 and halt purchases around mid-2014 if the world’s largest economy performs in line with projections.

Cheapest Valuations

The country’s equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The economy of the world’s biggest energy exporter grew 1.6 percent in the first three months, the slowest pace since 2009. Bank Rossii held its refinancing rate at 8.25 percent on June 10 after inflation accelerated for a second month in May to the fastest pace in 21 months.

Out of 50 stocks, 23 increased and 27 dropped on the Micex. The volume of shares traded on the gauge was 22 percent above the 30-day average, while 10-day price swings dropped to 20.74, falling for a third day.

Two stocks on the Micex closed yesterday at a 52-week low and none at a high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Twenty-one stocks, or 42 percent, were trading above their 50-day moving average.

The Micex trades at 5 times its 12-month estimated earnings, having lost about 11 percent this year, compared with a multiple of 9.6 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which is down 13 percent. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index of the most-traded Russian companies in the U.S. climbed 0.9 percent to 83.64 today.

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