Who’s Buying Russian Stocks? (2022)


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Trading has resumed after the market closed for a month, but it’s not business as usual.

Who’s Buying Russian Stocks? (1)

By Stephen Gandel and Jason Karaian

The DealBook newsletter delves into a single topic or theme every weekend, providing reporting and analysis that offers a better understanding of an important issue in business. If you don’t already receive the daily newsletter, sign up here.


(Video) Jan van Eck explains how RSX ETF trades despite Russian stocks closed

On the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Russia’s main stock index lost a third of its value. As Western sanctions were announced, the ruble crashed and Russians lined up at A.T.M.s to withdraw cash. The Moscow Exchange closed, and officials didn’t say when it would reopen.

A week later, in an interview on live television in Russia, a financial analyst was asked about investment strategy. He answered by raising a drink and delivering a somber toast to the demise of a “dear comrade,” the country’s stock market.

But on Thursday, almost a month after the market closed, trading partly resumed.

Russia’s stock market is hardly in good health. Its fragile state is a reflection of Russia’s generally precarious financial situation, with its economy increasingly isolated and its institutions unable to function as they did before.

When the market reopened, only 33 stocks (out of several hundred) were allowed to trade, under heavy restrictions. Foreign investors couldn’t sell their holdings, and there was a blanket ban on short-selling, which stopped traders from betting on falling prices. The government had pledged to spend up to $10 billion buying shares. Trading was open for about four hours each day.

A White House adviser called it “a Potemkin market opening.”

In part because of the restrictions, the market didn’t crash, as many had predicted. The benchmark index rose by a bit less than 1 percent in the two days after the reopening. But the market, such as it is, is down 20 percent from the day before the war, and more than 30 percent lower since the start of the year.

Performance of Russia’s MOEX stock index

The Russian stock market was never as important to its national economy as its counterparts in the United States, Europe and elsewhere are to theirs. Today, the total value of Russia’s market is about $400 billion, or roughly the same as Walmart. Trading in Moscow is — or was — dominated by foreign investors, who own the majority of shares that are available to trade.

(Video) How one Russia ETF manager is approaching the recent trading halts

That said, the ranks of retail investors in Russia, though relatively small, have been growing. Jacob Grapengiesser, a partner at the Swedish investment firm East Capital, was based in Russia until recently. Before the war, he said, his wife’s younger co-workers asked her for stock picks after they found out what he did for a living. “That’s not something that would have happened even a few years ago,” Mr. Grapengiesser said.

The State of the War

  • Retaking Kherson:On Nov. 11, Ukrainian soldiers swept into the southern city of Kherson, which Russian forces had occupied for more than eight months, seizing a major symbolic and strategic prize and dealing a bitter blow to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.
  • What’s Next?:Cheering crowds greeted Ukrainian forcesas they entered Kherson, but analysts agree that the war is far from over. Here’s a look at what might lie ahead.
  • Winter Looms:Many analysts and diplomats have suggested there could be a pause in major combat over the winter. But after pushing the Russians out of Kherson, Ukraine has no desire to stop.
  • Peace Talks:While Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has made the case that the Ukrainians should try to cement their gains at the bargaining table, someU.S. officials say that peace talks remain a distant prospect.

But investing in Russian stocks is a much different proposition now. Sanctions are hitting the Russian economy hard, and the measures that Moscow is taking in response, including restricting access to foreign currency and raising interest rates, further limit what companies can do. Investors who screen their investments according to environmental, social and governance, or E.S.G., principles are also reconsidering their exposure to all things Russian.

Analysts at IHS Markit expect the Russian economy to shrink 11 percent this year and inflation to more than triple, to over 20 percent. The country won’t fully return to its prewar size until the 2030s, according to their forecast.

Russia’s public companies, which tend to be the biggest and most international in scope, are increasingly cut off from foreign markets, especially if their owners are under Western sanctions. S&P Global Market Intelligence recently estimated that the average public company in Russia has a 1-in-5 chance of defaulting on its debt.

Russian companies with listings on foreign markets, which continued to trade after the Moscow market was closed, have seen their values plunge to nearly zero. The fact that companies are worth something at home but considered worthless abroad neatly captures how comprehensively the Russian market has been severed from the rest of the world.

For some, that’s an opportunity. Mr. Grapengiesser of East Capital said he had been getting “three calls a day” from foreign hedge funds looking to buy his Russian shares at steep discounts. (The firm holds hundreds of millions of dollars in Russian stocks across its funds.) He isn’t interested in selling, and he doesn’t know how he would complete the transactions anyway, since as a foreign-owned fund his holdings are frozen.

Even so, “the market reopening has performed above my expectations,” Mr. Grapengiesser said of the Moscow Exchange’s staged approach. And with Russians’ money now effectively trapped in the country, more people may decide to invest in the stock market, he said.

Other countries have closed their stock markets for longer periods than Russia just did. In recent history, Greece closed its market for five weeks in 2015 during its debt crisis, and Egypt halted trading for about eight weeks in 2011 amid the Arab Spring uprising. Both markets fell sharply when they initially reopened, but regained their footing and have been trading ever since.

The longest market shutdown in U.S. history was a four-month closure of the New York Stock Exchange during World War I. William Silber, a finance professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, studied that episode and said market shutdowns tended to accomplish their goals.

Russia has prevented foreign investors from selling rubles for dollars. In New York, the 1914 restrictions were designed “to stop Europeans from selling their shares and cashing out their dollars for gold, and it worked,” Mr. Silber said.

During the 1914 closing, an unofficial trading floor sprang up in a building in downtown Manhattan, allowing investors to trade. Mr. Grapengiesser said no secondary markets had appeared yet for Russian stocks. But his firm and others have been in discussions about how to allow foreigners to trade with one another. And he said some overseas markets were talking about facilitating trading in Russian shares.

A stock market often serves as shorthand for how well an economy is doing, so the reopening of the Moscow Exchange is symbolically important for Russia, even if it comes with major caveats. But as Russia’s economy becomes more isolated, a full revival, with some semblance of normal trading, seems further away. So does building credibility with a wider set of investors.

“It’s not really a proper market,” said Timothy Ash, the head of emerging market investments at BlueBay Asset Management in London. Russian assets are “untouchable at the moment,” he said, and “long term, even if Russia pulls out of Ukraine, I think investors will remain skeptical.”

(Video) Russia's 'Uninvestable' Stocks Cut by MSCI, FTSE Russell


What do you think? What’s next for Russia’s stock market? Let us know: dealbook@nytimes.com.


Which stocks benefit from Russia war? ›

A basket of five— Northrop Grumman (ticker: NOC), Lockheed Martin (LMT), General Dynamics (GD), L3Harris Technologies (LHX), and Leidos Holdings (LDOS)—have gained 5.8% in 2022, far better than the S&P 500 index's 24% drop.

What happens if you have Russian stocks? ›

Owned Stocks

If you have Russian equities — stocks — in your portfolio now, you can only sell these positions to investors outside the U.S., based on an executive order issued by President Biden in June.

When can Americans trade Russian stocks again? ›

The country won't fully return to its prewar size until the 2030s, according to their forecast. Russia's public companies, which tend to be the biggest and most international in scope, are increasingly cut off from foreign markets, especially if their owners are under Western sanctions.

Can you still invest in Russian stocks? ›

How Can I Buy Russian Stocks in the US? You cannot currently purchase new or existing Russian stocks as a U.S. investor. Some U.S. mutual funds have small Russian positions, and these are still available to be traded by U.S. Investors.

Which stock do well during war? ›

In general, defense stocks (companies that produce weapons and armaments) tend to fare the best during a wartime environment.

What stocks should I invest in if we go to war? ›

The eight best defense stocks to buy in 2022:
  • Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)
  • Boeing Co. (BA)
  • AeroVironment Inc. (AVAV)
  • BWX Technologies Inc. (BWXT)
  • Raytheon Technologies Corp. (RTX)
  • General Dynamics Corp. (GD)
  • Textron Inc. (TXT)
  • CAE Inc. (CAE)
24 Jun 2022

Are Russian stocks trading again? ›

Russia is slowly reopening its equity trading after suspending it from Feb. 28 until yesterday after the nation was hit with unprecedented sanctions, spanning everything from its ability to access foreign reserves to the SWIFT bank-messaging system.

Is Russia worth investing? ›

While Russia offers high returns, it is dominated by energy companies, the state of regulation is still under development at best, and the political risks are greater than elsewhere. That's a striking feature of investing in Russia. The risks and potential rewards are both high.

Who controls the Russian stock market? ›

Moscow Exchange
OwnerPublic company
Key peopleYury Denisov (CEO)
CurrencyRussian ruble
No. of listings219
Market capUS$ $773 billion
7 more rows

Who can still trade Russian stocks? ›

Most foreigners are unable to trade Russian stocks, and CDS are only accessible to institutional investors.

What American companies are still selling to Russia? ›

The major companies still doing business in Russia include Burger King, Domino's, Subway, Citi and Marriott, according to the Yale School of Management. Burger King, Subway and Domino's have hundreds of independent franchise locations inside Russia.

Can I buy Russian stocks on Robinhood? ›

While Robinhood doesn't allow trading on foreign exchanges, Robinhood customers can buy and sell a limited number of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that invest in Russian companies and American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) that represent shares of a Russian company's stock. Here's what you should know.

Will Russian stocks still pay dividends? ›

“The shareholders have resolved that in the current situation it is not opportune to pay out dividends based on the results of 2021,” Famil Sadygov, deputy chairman of Gazprom, said in a statement.

What companies are no longer trading in Russia? ›

McKinsey & Company said it would not take on any new work in Russia, would stop work for state-owned entities and “will no longer serve any government entity in Russia.” The Big Four accounting firms — Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC — are pulling out of the country.

Can you invest in Russia right now? ›

Russia is no longer an option for investors.

What should I buy for war? ›

Commodities to Buy During War
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  • Digital Silver: Commodities to Buy During War. ...
  • Blue-Chip War Stocks: Commodities to Buy During War. ...
  • Commodity-based ETFs: Commodities to Buy During War. ...
  • Daily Commodities.
4 Apr 2022

Will stocks go down if we go to war? ›

Yes, during the pre-war phase, stock prices decline due to uncertainty, but once war begins, the stock market goes up. Most of the pre-war volatility subsides, and investors enjoy relative stability.

What happens to your money in the bank if war breaks out? ›

Your money is safe inside a bank. Bank deposits are insured by the FDIC and are protected up to at least $250,000. The best place for your emergency fund is a money market account or savings account. If you want to keep some cash at home, that's fine, but I don't recommend cashing out your savings.”

What stocks do well during inflation? ›

Inflation-indexed bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), tend to increase their returns with inflationary pressures. Consumer staples stocks mostly do well because price increases are passed on to consumers.

What should I invest in before war? ›

Key Takeaways. Defense stocks, energy stocks, commodities, cash, and ETFs are stocks and investments that typically do well during times of war and conflict.

Is Russia stock market still shutting down? ›

Russia's stock index reopens and rises with government intervention. The market opened for the first time since Feb. 25, and the MOEX index was probably pushed up by measures designed to avoid a sell-off.

Is Russia's stock market still closed? ›

Russia's stock market reopens after month-long closure | CNN Business.

How long can Russian stock market close? ›

Trading hours have been limited to just four hours, and only 33 of the 50 ruble-denominated stocks are open for trading.

Who is richer Russia or USA? ›

The United States, by contrast, has a nominal GDP of $20.89 trillion—roughly 14 times the size of Russia's economy. And nominal GDP per capita is $63,413. Even three U.S. states have larger GDPs than Russia: California ($3.1 trillion), Texas ($1.78 trillion) and New York ($1.7 trillion).

Which country invests the most in Russia? ›

Russian FDI: ten biggest source markets
CountryNumber of greenfield FDI projects, 2019–20
1Germany82 82 82
2US66 66 66
3China55 55 55
4France49 49 49
6 more rows
3 Mar 2022

How much does US have invested in Russia? ›

approximately 12.3 billion U.S. dollars

What big companies are owned by Russians? ›

Largest firms
RankNameRevenue (USD billions)
89 more rows

Why are Russian stocks frozen? ›

As much as half of Russia's international reserves may have been frozen abroad as punishment for Putin's invasion of Ukraine. In response, the central bank has introduced capital controls and banned foreigners from selling securities locally, effectively shutting the exits for investors.

What companies are owned by Russians? ›

  • Adygea Airlines.
  • Aeroflot.
  • Aeroflot-Cargo.
  • Almaz-Antey Corporation.
  • Alrosa.
  • Arkaim (airline)
  • Aurora (airline)

Is Burger King still in Russia? ›

Burger King has been operating in Russia over the last 10 years through the joint-venture partnership, the same model the chain employs in 15 other international markets. The company operates 800 locations in Russia, all overseen by Kolobov, who RBI says has "extensive restaurant experience."

Which 10 major US companies are still doing business in Russia? ›

Which 10 Major US Companies Are Still Doing Business In Russia?
  • For your consideration, here are 10 U.S. companies still active in Russia.
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • Coca-Cola Co.
  • Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
  • Herbalife Nutrition Ltd.
  • Hilton Hotels Corporation.
  • Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • McDonald's Corp.
7 Mar 2022

Is McDonald's still operating in Russia? ›

From 1990 to 2022, the American fast food chain McDonald's operated and franchised McDonald's restaurants in Russia.

How do I invest in Russian stocks? ›

You can invest in Russian stocks through mutual funds, ETFs, and ADRs that help you avoid the risks of direct investments. Before and during investing in Russian stocks, ensure you're familiar with the economic factors and conditions the country faces.

Are Russian stocks trading in US? ›

There are five Russian ETFs that trade in the U.S., however only two have any substantial assets: VanEck Russia ETF (RSX) and iShares MSCI Russia ETF (ERUS), both of which track a market-cap-weighted index of Russian-listed securities.

Can I buy Gazprom stock in US? ›

Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom is a Russian oil & gas integrated business traded on the London market and trading over the counter in the US as an EDR, or European Depositary Receipt.

Why is Gazprom stock going down? ›

Gazprom shares plunged by more than 29% on the decision, which reversed a board recommendation to pay a dividend of 52.53 roubles per share in what would have been its biggest payout. Gazprom plans to spend 526 billion roubles ($10 billion) by 2025 to increase Russia's gasification from its current level of 72%.

Is Gazprom losing money? ›

The company -- considered a Kremlin “slush fund” because of its business ties to friends and close associates of Putin -- stands to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in European revenue over the long term.

Is China buying Russian stocks? ›

An investment by China could help solidify Moscow's effort to accelerate a so-called “Pivot to Asia” with oil and gas supply deals. China has doubled purchases of Russian energy products to nearly $60 billion over the last five years.

Is Nike still in Russia? ›

"Nike has made the decision to leave the Russian marketplace," the company said in a statement. "Our priority is to ensure we are fully supporting our employees while we responsibly scale down our operations over the coming months."

Is Nestle still in Russia? ›

Swiss food giant Nestle is pulling its popular brands out of Russia but will still sell essential foods.

Is KFC still in Russia? ›

NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Yum Brands Inc (YUM. N) on Monday said that it reached a deal to sell its KFC restaurants in Russia to a local operator there, paving a path to fully exit the country.

How wealthy is Russia right now? ›

As of 2022, it is the fourth-largest economy in Europe, the world's ninth-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the sixth-largest by PPP. $2.133 trillion (nominal, 2022 est.) $4.650 trillion (PPP, 2022 est.)

Which stocks benefit from Russia Ukraine? ›

Impact on markets

Russia and Ukraine hold a significant share of the global commodities trade. Russia supplies 10% of the global nickel. Together with Ukraine, it accounts for 29% of the global wheat exports. Some other commodities they supply extensively include palladium, natural gas and corn.

What stocks will do well if Russia invades Ukraine? ›

Possible winners if Russia invades Ukraine

Global energy companies due to increased price of oil and gas. Leading non-Russian gas and oil companies include Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), BP plc (NYSE: BP), and Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX).

What should I stock up on due to the Ukraine war? ›

Bread, pasta and cereals

Wheat is the key component of these everyday foods. Almost a third of the world's wheat is supplied by Russia and Ukraine, known as Europe's breadbasket. Ports are closed and infrastructure is in chaos, meaning different sources of this vital crop need to be found.

Which companies are affected by Russian war? ›

Besides these companies, other international companies that have a deep footprint in Russia, are French carmaker Renault, German chemicals maker BASF, British oil company BP, French yoghurt maker Danone, French gas utility company Engie, German retailer Metro, French jet engine maker Safran, Dutch oil company Shell, ...

Who is Ukraine biggest trading partner? ›

Ukraine top 5 Export and Import partners
ExporterTrade (US$ Mil)Partner share(%)
Russian Federation4,5538.48
United States2,9545.50
1 more row

What companies will profit from war in Ukraine? ›

Large defence companies are already seeing their share prices go up as investors anticipate the impact of the war on profits. Thales shares have risen by 35% since the invasion, while BAE Systems shares are up 32%. Lockheed Martin has seen an increase of 14% and AeroVironment 63%.

Will stocks drop if we go to war? ›

We find large effects in equity markets: and war lowers the value of U.S. equities by around 15 percent. This effect is concentrated in the consumer discretionary sector, airlines and IT; the prospect of war bolsters the gold and energy sectors.

Will stocks drop if Russia attacks? ›

The highly unpredictable nature of Russia's threat against Ukraine has rippled across financial markets without much impact on stocks. But if Russia were to move its troops across the border, it could cause a major risk-off event — sending equities lower and commodity prices even higher.

What companies are benefiting from Ukraine invasion? ›

Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Bodes Good Business for Arms Manufacturers Worldwide. News reports reveal that Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, globally amongst the most advanced armament makers, were openly telling their investors that the Ukraine conflict was good for business.

What are some best stocks to buy in this Ukraine crisis? ›

Oil Stocks To Buy Amid Ukraine Crisis
  • Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO)
  • Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO)
  • Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC)
  • Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL)
  • Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX)
24 Feb 2022

Should we be stocking up on food 2022? ›

Prepping is the only way to protect yourself from shortages in 2022, as well as preparing for inflation. With products already in short supply, January is the time to start stocking up before the shelves are empty.

Should we be preparing for a food shortage 2022? ›

Preparing for a food shortage is more important now than ever. Every day seemingly brings new alerts about shortages of essential foods. These shortages are typically limited to a few products at a time and tend to resolve quickly. But there's always a risk of food shortages happening on a global scale.

Will there be a shortage of food in 2022? ›

Global supply chain interruptions is mainly to blame for 2022 food shortages. The demand for most goods has spiked as the global economy recovers from the 2020 lows. This is coming at a time when the supply for many goods is short.

What companies are backing out of Russia? ›

McKinsey & Company said it would not take on any new work in Russia, would stop work for state-owned entities and “will no longer serve any government entity in Russia.” The Big Four accounting firms — Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC — are pulling out of the country.

Which American companies are still doing business with Russia? ›

The major companies still doing business in Russia include Burger King, Domino's, Subway, Citi and Marriott, according to the Yale School of Management. Burger King, Subway and Domino's have hundreds of independent franchise locations inside Russia.

What companies are not pulling out of Russia? ›

But while some of the biggest names in business have announced they are pulling out, some have decided to remain.
  • Brands staying in Russia:
  • Ab InBev. Stella Artois owner seeking to suspend sales of Bud beer in Russia.
  • Alphabet. ...
  • Bank of China. ...
  • BNP Paribas. ...
  • British American Tobacco. ...
  • Burger King. ...
  • Carlsberg Group.
9 Mar 2022


1. U.S. bans investors from buying Russian securities on secondary market
2. You Should Buy Stocks During Crisis | Russia Invades Ukraine
(Dividend Data)
3. RUSSIAN STOCKS - 10% yields, PE ratios of 5 - buy?
(Value Investing with Sven Carlin, Ph.D.)
4. Russia short sellers stuck in positions until Moscow's stock market reopens
(CNBC Television)
5. Russian Stock Market w/ Harris "Kuppy" Kupperman (TIP428)
(The Investor's Podcast Network)
6. ETFs are becoming Russia's 'entire market' as Moscow exchange remains closed: Strategist
(Yahoo Finance)

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