Russian stocks dropped for a second day as oil, the country’s main revenue earner, traded near its lowest price in almost two months after an industry report showed stockpiles rose for a third week in the U.S.
The Micex Index of 30 shares slipped as much as 0.8 percent and traded 0.1 percent lower at 1,496.7 by 11:46 a.m. in Moscow. Oil producer OAO Tatneft (TATN) lost 1 percent. OAO Novolipetsk Steel, Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin’s steelmaker, fell 0.7 percent. The dollar-denominated RTS Index decreased 0.5 percent to 1,599.82.
Oil for May delivery was at $101.20 a barrel, up 18 cents, in New York after falling 1.4 percent yesterday. U.S. inventories increased by 6.6 million barrels last week, according to the American Petroleum Institute. An Energy Department report today may show they rose by 2 million to the highest level for this time of year since 1990, according to a Bloomberg survey. The U.S. cut its price forecast for domestic and imported grades used by its refiners because of rising output in Canada and North Dakota.
“The price of oil is slowly declining and even though there is almost no risk of a major collapse, the journey to a new trading range or support platform will continue to weigh on sentiment toward Russia,” Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Troika Dialog in Moscow, wrote in an e-mailed report today.
Urals crude, Russia’s chief export blend, gained 0.1 percent to $117.33, paring yesterday’s 1.9 percent loss.
The Market Vectors Russia ETF, a U.S.-traded fund that holds Russian shares, lost 2.3 percent yesterday to $29.24. The RTS Volatility Index (RTSVX), which measures expected swings in the index futures, gained 0.9 percent to 32.66 points.
Russian stocks rallied 8.2 percent in the first three months of the year, the biggest quarterly gain in more than a year, on signs the global economy recovery is spurring demand for commodities. The gauge trades at 5.6 times analysts’ earnings estimates for member companies, below the 11.8 ratio for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
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