Sberbank, VTB likely to lead decline in Russian stocks

MOSCOW Fri Aug 1, 2014 1:22am EDT

MOSCOW Aug 1 (Reuters) - Russia's largest lenders, Sberbank and VTB, are likely to lead a decline in Moscow shares on Friday after being hit by sanctions, with a slump in U.S. markets on global economy concerns and tensions with Russia also weighing.

Sberbank, VTB and Russia's third largest state bank, Gazprombank, criticised sanctions imposed by the European Union on Thursday that cut them off from raising funding on the bloc's capital markets, but also dismissed the measures.

Sberbank's American Depository shares dropped 2 percent on the Nasdaq in New York, ending July as its worst trading month in two years.

VTB's Global Depositary Receipts (GDR), closed 1.5 percent down in London.

The inclusion of the Russian banks on the EU list of companies punished for Moscow's support of rebels in Ukraine had been anticipated after the bloc said earlier this week it was going to target state-controlled Russian banks.

The EU published the list of the banks on Thursday.

Sberbank closed 0.1 percent down on Thursday in Moscow on the rouble-denominated MICEX, before the publication of the list. But with the slump in the U.S. trading , analysts expect a bigger selloff on Friday.

"Sectoral sanctions on Russia ... which include restrictions of movement of capital increase the risk of exclusion of Russian stocks from a number of stock indexes," Oleg Shagov, an analyst at Promsvyazbank in Moscow, wrote in a note.

"We expect MICEX to start trading about 0.3 percent down."

VTB closed in Moscow nearly 1 percent higher on Thursday, with MICEX closing down 0.2 percent on the day at 1,379 points. The dollar-denominated RTS index closed 0.25 percent down to 1,219 points.

The Dow Jones industrial average suffered on Thursday its worst daily slump since February, with investors spooked by poor domestic unemployment data and Argentina's second default in 12 years.

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Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s (Reporting by Lidia Kelly, editing by Elizabeth Piper)