Russian Stock Market Up Despite Jay Carney 'Short' Talk

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It's been more than five months since CQ Roll Call asked Jay Carney about the stock market in Russia — and he talked about shorting it. You'd have lost a bundle if you followed that advice.  

"I wouldn’t, if I were you, invest in Russian equities right now — unless you’re going short," Carney responded to the question posed at his March 18 daily press briefing.  

But despite incremental sanctions and new reports of Russian incursions into Ukraine, the Russian stock market is still up substantially since CQ Roll Call asked the question. The MICEX, Russia's leading stock market index, is at 1,421.31, per Bloomberg , despite falling 26.6 points today.  

It closed March 18 at 1,335.86. That's a gain of more than 6 percent.  

Here's the transcript from March 18:

Q    The Russian stock market is soaring the last couple days.  Is this a sign that the sanctions that we’ve taken are ineffective if they’re not really paying a cost?  In reality, it’s up about 8, 9 percent in the last couple days, their main stock exchange. MR. CARNEY:  I think it’s down for the year and I think the ruble has lost value. And I think that the long-term effect of actions taken by the Russian government, in clear violation of the United Nations charter, in clear violation of its treaty commitments that are destabilizing and illegal, will have an impact on their economy all by themselves.  They will also incur costs because of the sanctions that we and the EU have imposed, and there will be more actions taken under the authorities that exist with the two executive orders that the President has signed.  So I wouldn’t, if I were you, invest in Russian equities right now — unless you’re going short.
The ruble also strengthened against the dollar in the months after Carney's remarks before plummeting Thursday, with talk of new sanctions sure to return to the agenda.  

The question now is whether the West will respond with far more painful sanctions than the targeted ones undertaken to date — ones that President Barack Obama has said he is reluctant to do because they could also hurt the world economy.  


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