With global markets tumbling Monday on news of escalating tensions in Ukraine, it is not surprising that Russia exchange traded funds are enduring significant punishment. For example, the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX) is lower by 5.6% on volume that is more than quadruple the daily average.
However, RSX and its rival Russia funds are not the only ETFs being crimped by the tumult in Ukraine. Despite its reputation for corruption, an opaque legal system and other negatives, Russia has been attractive to foreign investors, due in part to the Kremlin’s efforts to force Russian firms to pay higher percentages of profits in the form of dividends. [Russia Grows Its Dividends]
Andrei Kuznetsov, strategist at Sberbank “estimates about 70 percent of Russian freely traded shares is controlled by foreigners and a big portion of foreigners – about 40 percent – is from the United States,” Reuters reported.
That means today’s carnage is not limited to Russia ETFs. For example, oil prices are spiking, but that is of no help to global oil majors with significant exposure to Russia. A prime example is BP (NYSE: BP). American depositary receipts of the British oil giant are off 2.6% on volume that is nearly 20% above average because BP owns nearly 20% of OAO Rosneft. Rosneft, a major holding in RSX and other Russia ETFs, earlier lost $5 billion in market value, meaning BP lost $1 billion, according to Reuters. [No Love for Russia ETFs as Ukraine Flap Boils Over]
The iShares Global Energy ETF (NYSEArca: IXC) is off 1.1% on above-average turnover as BP is that ETF’s third-largest holding with a weight of 5.34%. IXC’s potential vulnerability to an ongoing crisis in Ukraine is not limited to the fund’s BP exposure.