Russian ADRs Drop as Tension Mounts in Wake of Jet Downing

  • Bloomberg gauge of U.S.-traded stocks declines for third day
  • Natural-gas producer Gazprom declines to one-week low

U.S.-traded Russian stocks dropped for a third day as tension mounted over Turkey’s downing of one of the country’s warplanes near the Syrian border, stoking concern that the hostilities in the region could spiral into a broader conflict.

The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index slipped 0.1 percent in New York. Natural-gas exporter Gazprom PJSC, the country’s biggest company, slumped 1.5 percent. Wireless operator VimpelCom Ltd. advanced 6.8 percent as three people familiar with the matter said the company is in talks to pay about $775 million to settle U.S. allegations it paid bribes in Uzbekistan to win business.

The world’s largest energy exporter’s economy has fallen into its first recession since 2009 amid oil selling for less than half its five-year average price and international sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict that have restricted Russian companies’ access to capital markets. A rebound that had been spurred by speculation that an alliance against terrorism could prompt Russia’s former Cold War foes to lift sanctions faded this week as Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, jolting equity markets.

“There was an expectation of geopolitical de-escalation and a decline in the risk premium, and things didn’t become better but became worse,” Vladimir Vedeneev, chief investment officer of Raiffeisen Asset Management in Moscow, said by e-mail on Wednesday.

Conflicting Accounts

Russia said Turkey may have planned the downing of the fighter jet, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Wednesday in Moscow, suggesting Turkey was defending Syrian anti-government fighters based in nearby areas. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintained that the jet was shot down after it failed to heed multiple warnings and crossed into his nation’s airspace.

Gazprom slid to $4.34 in New York. VimpelCom rose to $3.60. Brent crude, the oil grade traders use to price Russia’s main export blend, gained 0.1 percent to $46.17 a barrel. The ruble weakened 0.1 percent against the dollar.

The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index fell to 52.12. Futures contracts on the RTS Index expiring in December increased 0.5 percent to 88,550 in U.S. hours. The U.S. markets are closed on Thursday for a holiday.

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