MOSCOW, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Russian financial sector stocks inched lower again on Thursday following a sell-off prompted by news that B&N Bank, the country’s 12th largest lender by assets, had sought a bailout from the central bank.
The central bank confirmed it was in talks with B&N Bank’s owners about the request, with a decision due in the near future, and said it had provided the bank with an emergency cash injection.
Financial stocks pushed lower because the move raises questions about the stability of the sector and the efficiency of the central bank’s supervision policy. B&N’s request came less than a month after the central bank had to rescue Otkritie, once Russia’s largest private lender.
The composite financial sector stock index was down 0.2 percent at 7,373 as of 0717 GMT after falling as low as 7,309 the day before.
The index underperformed the benchmark rouble-traded MICEX index, which shed 0.1 percent to 2,055.4.
Research notes from analysts mostly omitted any mention of the B&N bailout, focusing on oil prices and the U.S. Fed, which left rates unchanged in the world’s largest economy.
Prices for oil, Russia’s key export, remained generally supportive for Russian assets as Brent crude futures hovered above $56 per barrel.
The rouble, however, eased 0.2 percent to 58.26 against the dollar and also shed 0.2 percent to 69.23 versus the euro.
The rouble’s weakness is rooted in global expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates more than previously expected, Rosbank, a Russian subsidiary of Societe Generale, said in a note.
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Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Gareth Jones)