Bloomberg News

Russian Stocks Rise, Led by Gazprom, Lukoil, Unified Energy

March 22, 2007

Russian stocks climbed as investors speculated emerging markets may benefit from the Federal Reserve's shift on interest rates. OAO Gazprom, OAO Unified Energy System and OAO Lukoil led the advance.

The ruble-based Micex Index (INDEXCF) added 2.1 percent to 1680.09. The dollar-denominated RTS Index (RTSI$) rose 2.3 percent to 1889.62.

The Fed left rates on hold yesterday and issued written comments that economists interpreted as indicating borrowing costs may be cut this year. A rate reduction would make stable assets such as U.S. bonds less appealing and emerging-markets stocks more attractive to investors.

``If the interest-rate cycle reverses to ease liquidity, then that's going to provide even more money for emerging markets stocks,'' said Kirill Surikov, director of equity sales at Alfa Bank in Moscow.

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Markets Index rose 1.5 percent to 922.79, a fourth day of gains.

``Given multiple danger zones globally, I think the resilience of the market is taking a lot of people by surprise,'' Surikov said. ``There's a fair amount of cash on the sidelines because people were expecting a mini-meltdown, but it hasn't happened.''

Gazprom, Lukoil

Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, climbed 2.9 percent to 260.73 rubles. Lukoil, Russia's biggest oil producer, rose 2.7 percent to 2,134 rubles. OAO Surgutneftegaz, the country's fourth-largest oil producer, added 2.4 percent to 31.162 rubles.

Crude oil for May delivery today added $1.78, or 3 percent, to $61.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Unified Energy, Russia's national electricity holding, gained 1.9 percent to 35.118 rubles. Managing Director Alexander Chikunov outlined a timetable for UES to take some of its generating units public by the end of 2007, Interfax reported.

OAO Concern Kalina, a top Russian perfume and cosmetics producer, tumbled 6.5 percent to 1,100 rubles, the largest drop in more than eight months. Profit fell 35 percent to $15.4 million in 2006 after Kalina bought a German cosmetics company and moved its production facilities to the Ural Mountains in Russia.

OAO Transneft (TRNFP), Russia's crude-oil pipeline monopoly, rose 2.8 percent to 55,090 rubles. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov wants Transneft to issue new common shares and swap them for the state's 100 percent stake in OAO Transnefteprodukt, which owns the country's oil-product pipelines, Vedomosti reported. The transaction would merge Russia's crude-oil pipeline network with the pipelines for refined oil products.

Sberbank

OAO Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, jumped 3.4 percent to 93,304 rubles, its biggest rise in a month. The state-controlled bank sold 2.8 million shares in its stock sale, and almost none of the investors who bid successfully for the new shares failed to pay for them, Kommersant reported, citing a Sberbank source it didn't identify.

Analysts had speculated that some bidders wouldn't pay for their shares as Sberbank stock sank toward 89,000 rubles, which was the offering price for the stock sale.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Mauldin in Moscow at wmauldin1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balduin Hesse at bhesse2@bloomberg.net.


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