Russian stock market reopens on Thursday after a month of war

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Russia’s stock market opened for the first time in a month on Thursday as investors took part in a highly restricted trading session.

The benchmark Moex index gained up to 10% at the start of trading in Moscow. Russia’s central bank has banned short selling and foreign investors are not allowed to sell shares, bans that could help support equities.

Investors can trade 33 stocks during the session, which will be limited from 9:50 am to 2 pm.

Blue chip stocks Gazprom, Lukoil, VTB Bank, Sberbank, Rusal and Rosneft are among the stocks being traded.

Russian shares were last traded on February 25, after President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sent shares plummeting.

The Moex index had lost about 35% of its value this year, while the RTS index – denominated in dollars – has plummeted 42%.

In the weeks since Russian stocks stopped trading, sanctions imposed by the West have crushed the ruble and sent the country’s economy into a tailspin. President Joe Biden is expected to announce additional sanctions during a trip to Europe this week.

Foreign investors are not allowed to sell shares on Thursday, under new rules that prohibit brokers from making sales on their behalf.

Foreign funds held more than 80% of all shares traded on the Moscow Stock Exchange in the first half of 2021, according to Reuters. The United States and Canada accounted for 54% of the total, with 22% from the United Kingdom and 21% from the rest of Europe.

The Biden administration described the reopening as a “challenge”.

“Russia has made it clear that it will pour government resources to artificially prop up the shares of companies they are trading,” Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh said in a statement. “This is not a real market and not a sustainable model – which only underlines Russia’s isolation from the global financial system.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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