Russia Stocks Pare Worst Month Since May on Bets Losses Overdone

Russian stocks gained for the first time in four days as some investors speculated declines this week were overdone.

The Micex Index added 0.3 percent to 1,479.46 by the close in Moscow, paring the steepest monthly retreat since May. OAO MegaFon, Russia’s second-largest wireless operator, jumped 3.8 percent to 1,076.90 rubles after a 4.6 percent drop yesterday. OAO Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port gained 4.4 percent to 3.16 rubles. The company and OAO Sberbank agreed to restructure a $1.95 billion loan.

Russian stocks lost 1.9 percent in the three previous days, the biggest three-day slump since Oct. 24, amid concern the economic recovery of the world’s biggest energy exporter is foundering. Growth will likely miss the government’s 1.8 percent goal in 2013, a pace that would mark the weakest expansion since the recession in 2009, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said Nov. 13.

“We saw a rather strong drop this week,” Andrey Vashevnik, who manages $25 million as chief investment officer at R&B Investment Fund Ltd. in Moscow, said by phone. “Today’s growth is technical.”

OAO Mechel, Russia’s biggest coking coal producer, and state-run power company OAO Inter RAO UES are the worst performers on the Micex this month.

MSCI Inc.’s Russia Utility index has slumped 52 percent this year on concern earnings will suffer from a tariff freeze imposed by the government next year. Mechel’s shares fell 41 percent on Nov. 13 in Moscow, their biggest decline since at least 2008.

Individual Stories

“This month’s drop was driven by individual corporate stories,” Vashevnik said. “Debt concerns plagued Mechel. Inter RAO and other power stocks fell on the state plan to freeze tariffs.”

Mechel tumbled 3.7 percent to 60.30 rubles today for a 42 percent decline in the month. Inter RAO added 3.7 percent to 0.74 kopeks, paring its slump since October to 22 percent.

The RTS Index increased 0.2 percent to 1,406.51. Russia’s equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging economies monitored by Bloomberg, with shares on the benchmark trading at 4.3 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with a multiple of 10.6 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

The U.S. stock market is closed today for a national holiday.