Shares of Russia-exposed companies took a beating across U.S. and European markets on Thursday, after the country’s move to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine fuelled fears of tougher Western sanctions.
U.S.-listed shares of Russian internet giant Yandex N.V. lost half their value, while companies with operations in Russia such as payment services provider QIWI plc and e-commerce platform Ozon Holdings slumped 17 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively.
“Stocks exposed to Russia are falling because people are worried that these companies may be taken off Nasdaq or may not be allowed to sell their products in the developed world as a punishment,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.
The White House earlier this month warned the U.S. chip industry to be ready for new restrictions on exports to Russia in case of a war.
The Philadelphia chip index was down 2.2 per cent. Ukraine supplies more than 90 per cent of U.S. semiconductor-grade neon, critical for lasers used in chipmaking, while Russia is the source of 35 per cent of the palladium used in the country.
Among the hardest hit in Europe were shares of London-listed miners Polymetal and Evraz, banks Raiffeisen and OTP, Polish clothing company LPP and German energy trader Uniper. Their shares were down between 15 per cent and 45 per cent.
London-listed shares of Russia’s two biggest companies by market value, Sberbank and Gazprom, fell 74.6 per cent and 37.9 per cent, respectively.
France’s Renault, which controls Russian car maker Avtovaz, fell 9.3 per cent.
The broader European stock market fell 3.4 per cent while S&P 500 dropped 2.0 per cent.
U.S. President Joe Biden and European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell promised new sanctions, with the U.S. president adding he would be meeting early on Thursday with G7 leaders.
Biden, who orchestrated an initial round of Western sanctions this week against Russian oligarchs, financial institutions and exports, had made clear Moscow would pay a steeper price for continued aggression.
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