Traders Spooked as Russia's Woes Deepen

The Market Vectors Russia ETF Trust (RSX) and Direxion Daily Russia Bear 3x Shares (RUSS) have hit notable milestones today

Dec 15, 2014 at 3:13 PM
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Oil is continuing to pan fresh five-year lows today, with the January-dated contract closing 3.3% lower at $55.91 per barrel. While this plunge in oil prices has helped the U.S. consumer, it is having a decidedly negative effect on Russia's economy -- the world's largest energy exporter. Today, in fact, the Market Vectors Russia ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:RSX), which is the biggest exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the country, plunged to $13.85 -- its lowest mark since March 2009 -- and was last seen 12% lower at $13.90.

Echoing this is the action in the ruble, which earlier hit a record low against the U.S. dollar. Additionally, the currency settled the session down 9.1% -- its largest percentage decline on a closing basis since 1998, the year Russia defaulted on its debt.

Conversely, the Direxion Daily Russia Bear 3x Shares (NYSEARCA:RUSS) rallied to a new three-year peak of $48.75 earlier, but more recently was up 35.1% at $47.94. Going forward, Russia's volatility could continue, should oil extend its decline -- or President Barack Obama decide to move forth with another round of sanctions, authority that was granted to him unanimously by the Senate over the weekend.

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