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Here's Why We’re Bullish On Russia, Eastern Europe Right Now

By Frank HolmesStock MarketsSep 22, 2021 04:51PM ET
www.investing.com/analysis/heres-why-were-bullish-on-russia-eastern-europe-right-now-200602771
Here's Why We’re Bullish On Russia, Eastern Europe Right Now
By Frank Holmes   |  Sep 22, 2021 04:51PM ET
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After a challenging 2020 due to the pandemic, foreign direct investment (FDI) has been flowing into Russia this year for several reasons. Among them is it offers positive real rates compared to other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. At a time when most countries are keeping rates near zero to combat the negative effects of the health crisis, the Bank of Russia is in tightening mode, having raised rates five times so far in 2021, most recently on Sept. 10. This has attracted investors looking for higher yielding instruments.

The Russian economy has also been supported by stronger oil and gas prices. The price of Brent oil, the international benchmark, has increased about 75% this year through Sept.15, which has supported some of our favorite Russian oil exploration and production companies. Among them are Rosneft (OTC:OJSCY), up 35% as of Sept. 15; Lukoil (OTC:LUKOY), up 38%; and Gazprom (OTC:OGZRY), up 73%.

We believe Russia’s extra revenue from the sale of oil and gas will be spent on social benefits that will further boost the economy and improve living conditions.

Russian Stock Market Outperforming High-Flying U.S. Market

It’s important that investors not get distracted by FUD, or fear, uncertainty and doubt. Russia gets a lot of negative press, but did you know its stock market is beating the S&P 500 so far in 2021? Whereas the U.S. market has returned approximately 20% through Sept. 14, the MOEX Russia Index has increased more than 31%.

And we think there could be more gas in the tank, so to speak. Besides the recovery in oil prices, the Russian market could continue to benefit into 2022 from an easing risk of international sanctions and an influx of retail investors.

What’s more, the Russian market still looks highly undervalued relative to other regions, making it potentially attractive to value investors. Below you can see select economies’ current price-to-earnings (P/E), which tells you how “expensive” an index or stock is. As of mid-September, the Russian stock market was trading at a little over nine times earnings, putting its valuation well below other emerging markets, not to mention developed markets like Japan, Europe and—most notably—the U.S.

On another note, Russia has offered some of the most attractive dividend yields relative to other regions. As of September, Russian stocks had a trailing 12-month dividend yield of 4.45%, almost double the yield of the emerging markets universe on average.

Russia Part Of Bigger CEE Growth Picture

Up until this point, I’ve only been mentioning Russia. The truth is we think the entire CEE region is interesting for a variety of reasons. It shares the same continent as the more established economies of Western Europe, but it also has a lot in common with other emerging markets around the world—particularly east Asia, as the two regions are important manufacturing hubs.

In a few instances, this has translated into strong sustained growth. Take Poland, for instance. Before pandemic-hit 2020, the country’s economy expanded for nearly 30 years straight. In 2017, Poland was upgraded by FTSE Russell from 'emerging' to 'developed' status, making it the first country to make the transition in nearly a decade.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

Here's Why We’re Bullish On Russia, Eastern Europe Right Now
 

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Here's Why We’re Bullish On Russia, Eastern Europe Right Now

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Comments (2)
VietAnh Tran
VietAnh Tran Sep 22, 2021 9:44PM ET
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Who cares about Russia ?
stanislav zernov
stanislav zernov Sep 22, 2021 6:27PM ET
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you have to be really stupid to invest into russia.... oxy xom cvx vlo all these oil stocks are much better
 
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Disclaimer: All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue chip stocks that are generally leaders in their industry.
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