Investor Alert

Jan. 24, 2022, 7:58 a.m. EST

Russian stocks collapse as U.S. orders diplomat families out of Ukraine

By Steve Goldstein

Russian stocks crashed and the ruble sank to its lowest level in more than a year, as investors feared the triggering of sanctions if the country invades Ukraine.

The Russian RTS (RUS:RU:RTS) index lost 9%, with aluminum giant Rusal losing 8% and gas producer Gazprom dropping 8%.

The VanEck Russia ETF (BATS:RSX) slumped 7% in premarket action.

The ruble (XTUP:RUBUSD) fell more than 1.5% to its lowest level in more than a year.

See : How a Russian invasion of Ukraine could trigger market shock waves

Plus: Tensions between Russia and Ukraine aren’t fully priced into commodities

The U.S. State Department over the weekend ordered the families of U.S. personnel to leave Ukraine .

“With both the US and UK withdrawing some embassy staff from Kiev, there is a real threat of an imminent Russian invasion,” said Raffi Boyadjian, lead investment analyst at XM.

See: Russia seeking to replace Ukraine government with Kremlin-friendly regime, U.K. government says, citing intelligence assessment

Also: Russia mapping out ‘false flag’ incident in eastern Ukraine as pretext to invade, according to ‘very credible’ U.S. intelligence assessment

The U.S. has threatened heavy sanctions if Russia invades neighboring Ukraine. NATO is putting extra forces on standby and sending ships and jets to Eastern Europe.

The NATO action comes despite divisions between U.S. and Germany over how to proceed, with Europe’s largest economy reluctant to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a bargaining chip. That pipeline is complete but hasn’t yet shipped gas.

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