Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Russian stocks rebounded as investors bet sanctions against Iran will hurt oil supplies, lifting the price of crude and boosting appetite for equities in the world’s biggest energy exporter.
The 30-stock Micex Index added 0.5 percent to 1,499.27 by the 6:45 p.m. close, erasing an earlier loss of as much as 1 percent. OAO Transneft, the oil pipeline operator, climbed 1.5 percent. OAO Rosneft the country’s biggest oil company, jumped 1.3 percent. The dollar-denominated RTS Index surged 1.8 percent to 1,522.57, its highest level since Dec. 5.
Oil jumped 1 percent to $99.40 a barrel in New York after the European Union announced a phased-in embargo of Iranian crude in an effort to contain the country’s nuclear program. European stocks climbed to a five-month high as Germany and France said Greek debt-swap talks are making “tangible progress” at a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels today.
“Most markets have recovered during the day as people are betting, rightly or wrongly, on a positive outcome from the European Union finance ministers meeting,” Peter Westin, chief strategist at Aton LLC in Moscow, said by e-mail. “Improved global sentiment is driving oil higher, aided by the EU oil embargo against Iran.”
Rosneft rallied to 233.63 rubles, its highest close since Aug. 2, after the company said it increased proved hydrocarbon reserves 16 percent last year. OAO Lukoil, the country’s biggest non-state oil company, added 0.3 percent to 1,813.70 rubles a share.
The ruble gained 1.4 percent to 30.89 against the dollar, its strongest closing level since Dec. 5. The Russian currency added 0.6 percent to 40.2625 versus the euro.
The Micex has gained 6.9 percent this year and trades at 5.7 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies.
The gauge retreated 17 percent in 2011, compared with an 18 percent drop for Brazil’s Bovespa index, which trades at 9.8 times estimated earnings according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Shanghai Composite Index trades at 9.5 times estimated earnings, and the BSE India Sensitive Index has a ratio of 14.7.
VTB Group, the country’s second-biggest lender added 1.1 percent to 6.573 kopeks after earlier heading for its weakest level since Jan. 16.
The Moscow-based lender’s bigger rival, OAO Sberbank, fell 0.1 percent to 85.01 rubles, trimming an earlier drop of as much as 1.5 percent. Sberbank said today it completed the acquisition of Troika Dialog, Russia’s oldest investment bank, as it seeks to become of the world’s 15 biggest bond, currency and commodity firms in the next five years.
OAO Rostelecom, the country’s dominant fixed-line operator, snapped three days of declines at the start of trading after its board approved an 8.3 billion ruble ($265 million) loan from VTB Group to finance a planned share buyback. The shares jumped as much as 1.3 percent before erasing their advance to trade down little changed at 148.47 rubles.
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