Russia Stocks Retreat as Mechel to Rusal Slide on Metal Decline

Russian stocks erased gains as metals declined, dragging down producers including United Co. Rusal and OAO Mechel.

The Micex Index lost 0.4 percent to 1,473.26 by the close in Moscow, with 16 stocks up and 34 down. Mechel, a steelmaker and the nation’s biggest coking coal producer, sank 2.5 percent to 57.80 rubles, while Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum maker, declined 3.8 percent to 95.28 rubles. Most metals, including copper, tin and aluminum, retreated.

Russian stocks slid 2 percent last month amid concern an economic recovery in the world’s biggest energy exporter is foundering. The Micex gained as much as 0.7 percent earlier today after Chinese manufacturing growth beat analyst estimates in November, indicating the nation’s economic recovery is sustaining momentum. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell as a report showed Spanish manufacturing unexpectedly declined last month.

“People are starting to doubt the New Year’s rally potential,” Kirill Yankovskiy, director for equity sales at UralSib Securities in London, said by e-mail. “Russia followed Europe lower today.”

Last December the Micex gained 4.9 percent, snapping two months of declines.

Uralkali Deal

OAO Aeroflot, Russia’s biggest airline, jumped as much as 7 percent before closing up 4.1 percent at 62.99 rubles. Third-quarter net income rose 88 percent to $544 million from a year earlier, the company said today.

OAO Pharmstandard, the nation’s biggest drugmaker, advanced 3 percent to 1,506 rubles. OAO Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer, increased 2.1 percent to 169.19 rubles. OAO Uralchem investors led by billionaire owner Dmitry Mazepin agreed to buy 20 percent of OAO Uralkali, Moscow-based Uralchem said in a statement today, giving him joint control of the company with Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group

Russia’s growth will probably 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. Russia-dedicated equity fund outflows are set for the worst year on record, with redemptions reaching more than $130 million in the week ended Nov. 27, according to a Nov. 29 UralSib Capital note.

Russia’s equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging economies monitored by Bloomberg, with shares on the benchmark trading at 4.2 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with a multiple of 10.7 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

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