Russian stocks head south in afternoon trade

Russia’s RTS and Micex indices are lower in afternoon trade following in the wake of overnight falls on Wall street, which has flowed through to Thursday trade in Asia and Europe.

At 14.00 Moscow time the dollar denominated RTS is down more than1% with the Ruble denominated Micex down nearly 5%, as sliding oil and commodity prices, and weak sentiment on both the global economy in general, and emerging markets in particular, take their toll on investors.

Energy stocks, which make up more than half the Russian market by capitalization are lower after crude fell overnight.  The U.S Energy Department released inventory data on Wednesday showing an increase of 3.18 million barrels, the fourth consecutive weekly rise, while showing that gasoline consumption was down. This saw Brent and Nymex futures fall below $65BBL, a 16 month low, before Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari called for a cut of 2 million barrels per day, when OPEC meets in Vienna on Friday. Russian energy stocks are down on the day, but with losses pared by the comments, and at 14.30 on the Micex Lukoil is down 2.5%, with Surgutneftegaz down 4.6% and Gazprom down 4.3%.

The recent falls in other hard commodity prices have continued with gold, platinum, and base metals all lower.  This is adding to the downside for Norilsk Nickel (down 9% at 14.30 on the Micex) Polymetal (down 2.3%) Polyus Gold (down .8%) and Ulralkali (down 4%).  Elsewhere at 14.30, Wimm Bill Dann is down 4% with Baltika Brewery also down 2%, but Lebedyansky is managing a gain of 1%.

The falls in Russia follow in the wake Asian trade, which saw the Nikkei close down 2.4% with the Hang Seng down 3.5%. late morning trade in europe sees the FTSE 100 down 1.3% with resources stocks being hit, the Dax down 2.9% with Volkswagen and BMW down more than 6% apiece, and the Cac down 2.3% with Peugot and Michelin down more than 8% apiece.