By Tim Seymour
As advertised right here, the Russian stock market is now down 10% from its April high -- and sluggish local interest may leave the market at the mercy of global sentiment.
Trading is light in Moscow during the early May holiday season, and in fact the market will be closed several days between now and May 15.
Now that the once-high-flying Russian market has corrected, it joins China and India — and even, on a longer-term basis, lagging Brazil — in making a fairly steep leg to the down side.
The problem seems to be that traders are simply unwilling to shoulder any real risk in these markets. The minute things start to look like they are slowing, hot money flees. This sets off a chain reaction and soon even slow-moving mutual funds are pulling out.
This is not really a sustainable situation as far as long-term clarity is concerned, and it creates odd situations like this one where oil — the life blood of the Russian economy — is trading at post-recession highs but Russian stocks are declining.