Russia Stocks Rise as Sberbank to Bashneft Climb

Russian stocks rose for a second day led by financial shares amid speculation sanctions against the country may be eased. AFK Sistema pared gains after a court delayed an appeal by the company’s owner against house arrest.

The Micex Index climbed 0.9 percent to 1,441.83 by the close in Moscow. OAO Sberbank, the nation’s biggest lender under U.S. and European Union penalties, increased 1.8 percent and VTB Group rose for a second day as financial stocks rallied 1.5 percent on average. Sistema added 0.4 percent after rising as much as 4.6 percent earlier. A Moscow court postponed until tomorrow hearing an appeal of Vladimir Evtushenkov’s detention.

The U.S. will lift restrictions if Russia takes the path of diplomacy and peace in Ukraine, President Barack Obama told the United Nations General Assembly today, after NATO said yesterday Russia has embarked on a “significant” withdrawal of its forces. Russian shares tumbled after Evtushenkov’s Sept. 16 arrest soured investor sentiment already hurt by sanctions imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.

“There are hopes sanctions may be lifted,” Stanislav Kopylov, a money manager at UralSib Asset Management, said by phone from Moscow. “Financial shares and the ruble are rising on bets sanctions may be curbed and because banks are among the most affected by penalties.”

The EU may start reviewing the restrictions on Sept. 30 and some may be gradually removed, Kommersant reported yesterday, citing an unidentified EU official.

OAO Bashneft rose 3.7 percent and its preferred shares climbed 1.9 percent. The case against Evtushenkov stems from a probe into the oil producer that his holding company Sistema acquired in 2009, the Investigative Committee said on Sept. 16.

Not Simple

“There was hope that Evtushenkov would get released today but it looks like this process won’t be as simple,” Andrey Verkholantsev, head of research at Kapital Asset Management LLC in Moscow, said by phone. “Sistema is very sensitive to this news because he’s the main shareholder and if Sistema loses Bashneft, that’ll significantly hit the holding company.”

Sixty-six percent of Micex stocks traded above their 50-day moving average yesterday, up from 64 percent a day earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The gauge is valued at five times estimated earnings, compared with a multiple of 11 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

The dollar-denominated RTS Index increased 1.9 percent to 1,189.23, the most since Sept. 3, curbing this year’s decline to 18 percent. Russian U.S.-traded exchange traded funds received $64.4 million of inflows yesterday, the most after Brazil, with $66.4 million going into Market Vectors Russia ETF, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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