On June 20, 2014, the price per barrel of Brent crude oil was more than $114. Since that time, we’ve seen a massive decline, to the point that the price on April 20, 2016—nearly two full years later—was hovering in the $40 to $45 range.
Often when it becomes difficult to even consider discussing—much less investing in—particular markets, it might be time to take another look. History is full of examples of investors with strong stomachs making out quite well by buying some of the most unloved markets, sectors or companies in the world.
I recently attended the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute’s annual forecast dinner in Denver, where the keynote, from a major asset manager, reviewed equity valuations across the world. He commented that there are not many equity regions that look particularly attractive compared to their histories, unless one is buying Russian energy companies.
So far, 2014 has not been a good year for Russia’s equity markets. While the valutation case can certainly be made, geopolitical risk is high, and it’s not easy to transition from looking at the fundamentals of companies to understanding the sanctions that different government actors might apply to selected Russian firms.