Sometimes, it is best for one to stick with one knows best. For example, it probably is not advisable for the White House press secretary to dispense investment advice.
However, that is exactly what President Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, did last week when he said the only bet to make on Russian stocks was from the short side. Traders have since gone the opposite direction.
“The percentage of borrowed shares in the biggest U.S. ETF tracking Russia’s market — a barometer of short selling — has fallen to 14 percent of the total stock, from 17 percent the day Carney spoke and a record 21 percent on March 3,” Halia Pavliva and Ksenia Galouchko report for Bloomberg, citing data provider Markit.
The largest Russia ETF trading in the U.S. is the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX) and the fund is highlighting the folly of Carney’s advice. Since Carney’s short Russia call on March 18, RSX has pulled in over $202 million in fresh assets. Including Thursday’s gains, RSX is up 3.4% in the past five trading sessions. [Leveraged Russia ETFs Gain Fans]
“I wouldn’t, if I were you, invest in Russian equities right now, unless you’re going short,” said Carney last week, Bloomberg reported.
One interpretation of that “advice” would have been to buy the Direxion Daily Russia Bear 3x Shares (NYSEArca: RUSS), though it is fair to say any investor that listened to Carney would now be upset. RUSS has plunged 10.4% in the past five trading sessions as investors have finally started seeing value in Russian stocks, which are among the least expensive in the developing world.
Last week, it was reported that insiders at large Russian companies and key holdings in Russia ETFs have been gobbling up shares. Those firms include OAO Lukoil, OAO Novatek and OAO Rosneft. [Oligarchs See Value in Russian Equities]
Listening to Carney’s Russia call and then doing the opposite has been a winning strategy over the past week. The Direxion Daily Russia Bull 3x Shares (NYSEArca: RUSL) is higher by nearly 13% since March 20 and the ETF is one of the leaders among Direxion’s bullish leveraged funds in terms of creation activity over the past 30 days, according to issuer data.
Direxion Daily Russia Bull 3x Shares