Bloomberg News

Russian Stocks Head for Weekly Gain as U.S. Data Boosts Crude

February 20, 2012

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Russian stocks rose to a six-month high as oil traded at its strongest level in six weeks on signs an improving U.S. economy will support fuel demand.

The 30-stock Micex advanced 0.6 percent to 1,580.47 by 11:50 a.m. in Moscow, erasing yesterday’s 0.6 percent drop and bringing its weekly increase to 3.6 percent. A close at that level would be the highest since Aug. 5. OAO Mechel, the country’s biggest coking coal producer, jumped 2.9 percent. OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, added 1.2 percent. The dollar-denominated RTS Index rose 1.4 percent to 1,664.01.

Oil, Russia’s main export revenue earner, increased 0.6 percent to $102.88 a barrel in New York, poised for a 4.3 percent gain this week, the most since December. Jobless claims in the U.S. dropped to the lowest level since 2008, beating estimates and sending stocks higher globally.

OAO Novolipetsk Steel, Russia’s largest steelmaker by market value, rose 1.3 percent to 74.53 rubles after slipping 2.1 percent yesterday.

Sberbank fell 1 percent to 97.30 rubles, heading for its strongest close since Aug. 4, as the ruble appreciated 0.9 percent to 29.97 against the dollar, heading for a seventh weekly gain.

The Micex is up 13 percent this year and trades at 6.1 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies. Brazil’s Bovespa index, which is valued at 10.6 times estimated earnings, has climbed 17 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Shanghai Composite Index trades at 9.7 times estimated earnings, and the BSE India Sensitive Index has a ratio of 16.2.

--Editors: Alex Nicholson, Linda Shen

To contact the reporter on this story: Denis Maternovsky in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at

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