Wild moves in Russian stocks as market reopens after month-long shutdown

A man walks past Moscow’s stock market building in downtown Moscow on February 28, 2022.

Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images

Russia’s stocks moved sharply on Thursday, after the market partially reopened for limited trading after its longest shutdown since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The Moscow Exchange resumed trading in 33 Russian equities, including some of its biggest names like Gazprom and Sberbank, between 10 am and 2 pm Moscow time (3 am and 7 am ET) following an announcement from the Central Bank of Russia on Wednesday.

Short-selling on stocks will be banned, however, and foreign investors will not be able to sell stocks or OFZ ruble bonds until April 1.

Oil giants Rosneft and Lukoil jumped 14% and 17%, respectively, while aluminum company Rusal also climbed more than 14%. Norilsk Nickel gained more than 19%.

At the other end of the index, Shares of Russian airline Aeroflot initially plunged more than 20%, but soon pared losses to trade around 5% lower a short while later.

VTB Bank shares dropped 6% and telecoms firm MTS fell 8%.

Overall, the MOEX Russia Index was up more than 3% around 15 minutes into trading.

The country’s stock exchange had been closed since Feb. 25 as Russian assets plunged across the board following the country’s invasion of Ukraine and in anticipation of the punishing international sanctions that followed.

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