The Russia Crash Back On: Bears Loving Putin

Did you remember the White House saying to short Russian stocks in recent months as tensions were mounting between Russia and Ukraine and over sanctions? Well, their timing was way off, but their message is looking more “on again” on Thursday. With Russia’s troop buildup taking place once more, sanction news and reports of a downed fighter jet has Russian stocks getting whacked.

When Vladimir Putin moved to withdraw the military option, many investors did not believe it would last. That still remains up in the air. Unfortunately, the uncertainty and damage to Russian trade is now stronger.

Russia’s MICEX (Moscow Exchange) was down almost 2.5% at a two-week low on Thursday, and the RTS Index was down a sharp 3.9% in Thursday trading. Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEMKT: RSX) was down almost 4% at $25.58 shortly after the open. This key Russia exchange traded fund’s 52-week trading range is $20.86 to $30.25. Also, the iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index (NYSEMKT: ERUS) was down 3.5% at $19.75 shortly after the open. Its 52-week trading range is $15.52 to $23.18.

The closed-end fund Templeton Russia and East European Fund Inc. (NYSE: TRF) was down far less, only 1.8% at $14.75 in early trading on Thursday. Its 52-week range is $12.00 to $15.71.

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Mobile Telesystems OJSC (NYSE: MBT) saw its American Depositary Shares (ADSs) down 2.9% at $18.99 in early New York trading in New York. Others were indicated lower as follows:

VimpelCom Ltd. (NASDAQ: VIP) is a key telecom provider with markets in Russia, Italy, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Armenia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Central African Republic, Burundi and Cambodia, as well as in Canada and Zimbabwe. Its shares in New York trading were down 3.2% at $8.69, versus a 52-week range of $7.53 to $14.74.

Yandex N.V. (NASDAQ: YNDX), the so-called Google search of Russia, was down almost 4% at $30.59, versus a 52-week range of $21.70 to $45.42. Yandex was worth nearly $10 billion in market cap.

Qiwi PLC (NASDAQ: QIWI), an operator of electronic online payment systems primarily in the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Belarus, Romania, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, was lower as well, down 4.6% at $42.42, versus a 52-week range of $24.75 to $59.24. Qiwi’s market cap was more than $2.2 billion after the drop.

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