Oil Stocks Retreat, Led By Rosneft

Russian stocks fell on renewed concern that a recession in the United States will hurt global demand for oil and gas, the country's biggest exports.

Oil producers Rosneft, LUKoil and Tatneft led the decline.

The ruble-denominated MICEX sank 2.1 percent to 1,642.63 as all but three of its 30 members retreated. The dollar-denominated RTS slipped 1.4 percent to 1,981.53.

U.S. economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, half the rate forecast by economists. The United States is the world's biggest energy consumer, and Russia is the biggest oil and gas producer.

"It raises the stakes and the level of nervousness," said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib. "It is in keeping with the trend of bad corporate results and mainly weak economic indicators that have been announced today."

Rosneft, the country's biggest oil producer, fell 2.8 percent to 180.86 rubles on the MICEX. The stock has fallen 22 percent this year. LUKoil, the second-biggest producer, dropped 2.1 percent to 1,735.02 rubles.Tatneft, based in the republic of Tatarstan, sank 2.7 percent to 123.86 rubles. The MICEX Oil & Gas Index decreased 2.5 percent.

Trading was lighter than average on Russian exchanges as investors awaited the decision of the U.S. Federal Reserve on interest rates.

Polyus Gold, the country's biggest producer of the metal, fell as much as 1.8 percent to 1,221.09 rubles. Vedomosti reported that Polyus would have to seek a partner or borrow funds to develop its Natalka gold field, the largest in Russia, after it raised the estimated cost of mining the field by two-thirds.