Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Russian stocks dropped for a fourth day after Standard & Poor’s stripped France of its top credit rating and cut eight other European countries, fueling concern policy makers haven’t done enough to fight the debt crisis.
The 30-stock Micex Index fell 1 percent to 1,449.4 by 11:58 a.m. in Moscow, poised for its longest losing streak since Nov. 21. OAO Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas export monopoly, slid 1.5 percent while miner OAO Mechel declined 2.4 percent. OAO Sberbank, the nation’s biggest lender, lost 0.7 percent. The dollar-denominated RTS Index fell 0.3 percent to 1,441.99.
S&P downgraded France to AA+ from AAA with a negative outlook after the close of European trading on Jan. 13. It cut Cyprus, Italy, Portugal and Spain by two grades and lowered the long-term ratings on Austria, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia.
“Euro debt fears are increasing,” Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Troika Dialog, wrote in e-mailed comments. “The optimism that helped all major equity markets to start the year strongly is likely to be in short supply today.”
Sberbank and VTB Group, Russia’s two largest lenders, fell 0.7 percent to 83.15 rubles and 0.4 percent to 6.42 kopeks as banking stocks tumbled after S&P’s downgrades.
Oil, Russia’s main export revenue earner, rose as much as 0.6 percent to $99.30 a barrel in New York. Prices slumped 2.8 percent last week to the lowest in almost four weeks.
The Micex, which has rallied 3.3 percent this year, trades at 5.4 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies, the lowest among the so-called BRIC nations, which include Brazil, India and China. The index dropped 17 percent in 2011, compared with an 18 percent slide for Brazil’s Bovespa index, which trades at 9.6 times estimated earnings according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Shanghai Composite Index trades at 9 times estimated earnings, and the BSE India Sensitive Index has a ratio of 14.1.
--Editors: Peter Branton, Alex Nicholson
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