To put it mildly, it has been a volatile year for Russia exchange traded funds, but over the past month, the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX) is higher by 4.5%. RSX is the largest, oldest and most heavily traded Russia and the de facto proxy of choice U.S. traders use to express a view on Russian equities.
Notably, RSX is lower by nearly 3% over the past week, with all of that decline being tied to Monday’s 3.2% drop on volume that was 28% above the daily average. With Russia ETFs this year, the familiar excuse for the funds’ struggles has been the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent annexation of Crimea, but there are technical factors at work as well. [Worst ETFs of the First Quarter]
At the start of March, RSX violated long-term technical support as tensions in Ukraine escalated. That old support has turned into new resistance and is acting as a road block to further near-term upside for RSX.
“From a momentum standpoint, Russia is stuck in this bearish cycle. Notice in the plot below price how every time we get a sell-off, momentum falls down into oversold conditions. When prices rally, momentum continuously fails to give us any overbought readings. These are extremely bearish characteristics that we don’t find in uptrends. Sometimes, we’ll see a bullish momentum divergence that might give us a heads up that the trend could be changing. But we’re not seeing this here at all, quite the opposite in fact,” notes Eagle Bay Capital President J.C. Parets.
Parets said RSX would need to “convincingly hold above $25” for the bearish outlook on the ETF to change.
Importantly, momentum in RSX has waned this month. All of the aforementioned one-month gain in the ETF was notched in March. Since the start of April, RSX is lower by 6%. That is good news for the Direxion Daily Russia Bear 3x Shares (NYSEArca: RUSS), which is Direxion’s top-performing bearish ETF this month. [Investors Flock to Leveraged ETFs]