Russia stocks open lower after US vows further sanctions; Rusal tanks 14% – CNBC

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Russia’s stock market opened lower on Monday morning, amid renewed concerns over the prospect of imminent U.S. sanctions.

The Moex index fell 1.3 percent during early morning deals in Moscow, extending losses of more than 4 percent over the last month. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar-denominated RTS gauge slipped 1.2 percent.

Shares of aluminum giant Rusal plummeted more than 25 percent lower in Hong Kong trade on Monday morning — notching record lows. Oleg Deripaska, the Russian billionaire behind the Hong Kong-listed stock, was one of the executives targeted by U.S. sanctions announced on April 6.

On Saturday, the U.S., U.K. and France launched more than 100 missiles targeting Syrian government sites in response to a suspected poison gas attack on April 7. The joint missile strikes prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to warn Western powers that further attacks on the war-torn country could bring chaos to world affairs.

Putin’s comments followed reports that Washington is poised to increase pressure on Moscow with fresh economic sanctions on Monday. The U.S. administration is expected to try to punish Russia for propping up the ailing regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Damascus and Moscow have both denied any involvement in the suspected poison gas attack which killed dozens of people in the Syrian town of Douma earlier this month.

Last week, fresh measures from the President Donald Trump administration against Russian tycoons and businesses triggered a sell-off in the ruble and sent stocks cascading lower. Tensions between Washington and Moscow were then ratcheted higher as Trump warned the Kremlin should “get ready” for missile strikes in Syria.

The U.S. Treasury said sanctions imposed on April 6 were linked to Moscow’s actions in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. That same announcement had prompted Rusal’s shares to tank over 50 percent last Monday.

European equity markets are particularly sensitive to movements in Russian equities because several of its companies have operations based there.