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UPDATE 1-Russian stocks turn positive, Cyprus still weighs on sentiment
March 20, 2013 / 2:37 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Russian stocks turn positive, Cyprus still weighs on sentiment

* RTS, MICEX edge up from 2013 lows
    * Sberbank, VTB stocks outperform
    * Rouble stronger vs basket on oil, tax duties

 (Updates prices, adds comments, details)
    By Maya Dyakina
    MOSCOW, March 20 (Reuters) - The Moscow stock market pushed up on Wednesday
from 2013 lows hit earlier this week as investors reassessed the degree of risk
posed by Russian banks' exposure to Cyprus and proposals to tax depositors on
the island.
    Russian banks, some of which are exposed to Cyprus as a favoured offshore
haven, had led shares in a tumble downwards this week on news of the plan for a
one-off levy of up to 10 percent on deposits as part of a European Union bailout
    "We believe concerns over Cyprus exposure are overdone, especially for
Sberbank, and we see the recent decline in stock price as an attractive buying
opportunity," analysts at Citi said in a note.
    Shares in Russia's biggest lender Sberbank rose 2.4 percent,
recovering from two-month lows hit on Tuesday, also boosted by the bank's plans
to spend 17 percent of its net profit both under international and local
reporting standards on dividends.
    Russia's No. 2 bank VTB, which is thought to be particularly
exposed to Cyprus, was one of the market's top performers, trading up 2.3
    Russian banks had $30 to $40 billion tied up in cross-border loans to
Cypriot firms at the end of 2012 and some $12 billion on deposit with Cypriot
banks, Moody's rating agency said. 
    At 1324 GMT the rouble-based MICEX was up 0.6 percent at 1,457.8
points, while the dollar-based RTS index was down 0.7 percent at 1,488.5
    However, numerous analysts warned that stocks will remain volatile until
Cyprus resolves its financing needs. Speculation is growing over the shape that
Russian help might take. The Cyprus government denied media reports of a deal to
sell Cyprus Popular Bank to Russian investors.  
    Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris said on Wednesday he had not reached
a deal at a first meeting with his Russian counterpart Anton Siluanov in
    "Today is the first day of this week when I noticed demand for Russian
stocks. There are investors who buy up shares that fell without fundamental
reasons. But it is impossible to predict future dynamics," said Evgeny Monakhov,
a trader at Deutsche Bank.
    Russia's Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP) was the biggest
loser on Wednesday, with shares falling 3.2 percent after CEO Rado Antolovic
temporarily stepped down to face a criminal investigation. 
    The rouble climbed, supported by rising prices for oil, Russia's main
export, and local end-of-month tax demands. The currency rose 0.4 percent
against the dollar at 30.85, but was 0.1 percent weaker against
the euro at 39.96, leaving it 0.1 percent higher versus the
euro-dollar currency basket at 34.96.
    "The rouble firmed thanks to tax payments... and there are no serious
outflows seen on the market," a dealer at a Western bank said.
    Yields in Russia's longer-term treasury bonds edged down 
 after the Finance Ministry met solid demand for its papers
maturing in February 2019 at an auction on Wednesday. 
 Russian Markets                          Latest     Net       %  % Change
                                                  Change  Change   on year
 MICEX                                   1457.79    8.59    0.59     3.96 
 RTS                                     1488.54    9.72    0.66     7.72 
 London ADRs                              861.50    9.87    1.16    -2.49 
 Emrg Mkt Indx                           1026.49    1.53    0.15    -2.72 
 MSCI Russia                              795.30    6.07    0.77    -1.51 
 Sberbank                                 102.09    2.37    2.38     9.85 
 VTB                                        0.05    0.00    2.31    -1.72 
 Gazprom                                  142.12   -0.22   -0.15    -1.10 
 LUKOIL                                  1953.10   13.90    0.72    -2.35 
 Rostelecom                               116.19    1.05    0.91    -3.50 
 Dollar/Rouble                             30.85   -0.13   -0.43     1.46 
 Euro/Rouble                               39.98    0.03    0.06    -0.69 
 Rouble basket                             34.96   -0.06   -0.18     0.34 
 DEBT                                        Bid     Ask    %Rtn    Coupon
 Russia 10-yr bond                          6.93    6.90   -0.03      7.60
 MONEY MARKET                                Bid     Ask   Close          
 Overnight rate                             5.65    6.15    5.75          
All data taken from Reuters at 1324 GMT

 (Writing by Maya Dyakina, additional reporting by Sonia Elks and Vladimir
Abramov; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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