Russian Stocks Are Laughing Off The Latest Sanctions

Vladmir putin russiaREUTERS/Maxim ShemetovVladimir Putin.

If you were expecting Russian stocks to fall Wednesday, you were wrong.

Russia’s MICEX index was actually up a healthy 2.2%.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a fresh round of economic sanctions on Russia for its ongoing involvement in destabilizing Ukraine.

“Among the targets of the new measures include the Bank of Moscow, the fifth-largest bank in Russia; the Russian Agricultural Bank, the fourth-largest; and VTB Bank, the second-largest,” reported BI’s Brett Logiurato. “The sanctions prohibit U.S. citizens or companies from providing new financing to the three major Russian financial institutions, thereby cutting off their access to U.S. capital markets. Along with sanctions announced two weeks ago, the U.S. has now targeted five of the six largest state-owned banks in Russia.”

Obama’s announcement followed the European Union’s announcement of sanctions on Russia.

Sanctions are intended to bring economic pain, which in turn is supposed to put pressure on leaders to alter their decisions.

To be clear, this is just a one-day move in the market, which doesn’t mean much.

Still, there’s little doubt that Russia’s economy is indeed under pressure. And Russia’s MICEX index is actually down 3.5% since the beginning of the year; compare that with the S&P 500, which is up 7.8% during that period.

If anything, Wednesday’s reaction reflects investors’ expectations for the sanctions. And it would appear that the markets were prepared for worse.

Elsewhere, European markets are trading in the red. Asian markets closed up. And U.S. futures are pointing up.

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