Tags: Rogers | Russian | stocks | ruble

Jim Rogers Hasn't Given Up on Russian Stocks

By    |   Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:28 AM

Despite all the nation's troubles this year, Russia's Micex stock Index has eked out a gain of 0.4 percent during the period.

And ace investor Jim Rogers hasn't turned against the market. "I own some Russian stocks," he told Wall Street Daily.

"To my astonishment, the main one I own is not even down in all this. I guess it's because its expenses are in rubles, and it sells in dollars." He appears to be referring to PhosAgro, one of the world's largest fertilizer and phosphorus companies.

Its stock has soared 97 percent over the past year.

"Aeroflot [the Russian airline] is another one I own, which is also sort of benefiting these days," Rogers said. Its stock is virtually unchanged since Oct. 23.

As for the Russian central bank's handling of the ruble's plunge, it "has been doing the right thing" in cutting back on its intervention to support the currency, Rogers argued.

"Let it [the ruble] collapse. Let it find its own level, and then we'll have a staggering rebound."

He noted that low oil prices are hurting Russia, but it's not all bad news.

"Obviously, the oil market drop is not good for Russia — no question about that — and it's making the ruble go down. But I see this as an opportunity. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at timing, so I don't know when the opportunity will be," he explained.

"Oil prices are not going to stay down forever, I suspect. And Russia will rebound with oil or when they get their own act together. I mean, they'll have to — if oil stays down at $60, they'll have to get their act together and reorganize. But they've got enough resources. It's a vastly, vastly rich country as far as resources are concerned. And it's a very, very cheap market. I think it's selling at half of book value right now. That's not an expensive market."

The central bank raised interest rates for the fifth time this year Thursday, but that failed to halt the ruble's slide. The main interest rate was increased to 10.5 percent from 9.5 percent.

"This is a spineless decision," Vadim Bit-Avragim, a portfolio manager at Kapital Asset Management in Moscow, told Bloomberg. "If the central bank's goal was to defend the ruble, it would've raised rates by 2 to 3 percentage points."

The dollar traded at 55.72 rubles Thursday morning.

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Despite all the nation's troubles this year, Russia's Micex stock Index has eked out a gain of 0.4 percent during the period.
Rogers, Russian, stocks, ruble
Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:28 AM
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