Russian shares swung between gains and losses as oil advanced and OAO Gazprom fell on bets the natural gas export monopoly will pay a lower-than-forecast dividend.
The Micex Index (INDEXCF) sank 0.2 percent to 1,422.34 by 11:31 a.m. in Moscow, taking its retreat this year to 3.6 percent. Gazprom, which has the biggest weighting in the Micex, dropped 1.2 percent.
State-run Gazprom said late yesterday that 2012 net income dropped 37 percent to 556 billion rubles (17.9 billion), based on local accounting standards. That translates into a 5.9 ruble- a-share dividend given the company’s policy of returning 25 percent of net income to shareholders. Crude climbed for a fifth day in New York, adding as much as 0.4 percent to $96.94 a barrel.
Cyprus’s banks will open their doors to customers today for the first time in almost two weeks, with new rules curbing access to cash.
Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The Micex trades at 5.3 times estimated earnings. That compares with a multiple of 10.8 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which has slid 2.5 percent this year.
The Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX:US), the largest dedicated Russian exchange-traded fund, was little changed at $27.49 yesterday in New York. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in the stock futures, rose 0.5 percent to 19.39 today. The Bloomberg-Russia gauge added 0.3 percent to 97.17 yesterday.
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