Internet Censorship Law Triggers Yandex Tumble: Russia Overnight.
OAO Yandex (YNDX), Russia’s biggest Internet search engine, fell for a third day, leading a slump in the nation’s New York-traded shares, on concern lawmakers are preparing to ban access to some websites. RTS futures dropped.
Yandex retreated 2.7 percent to $18.35 yesterday in New York, completing the longest stretch of declines in a month. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index (RUS14BN) of the most-traded Russian companies listed in the U.S. lost 0.4 percent to 88.12. The RTS stock-index futures expiring in September dropped 1.3 percent to 133,605.
The Duma, Russia’s lower house of the parliament, is scheduled to vote as soon as today on amending a law that bans access to websites that promote criminal activity against children such as pornography and illegal drugs. The Russian version of Wikipedia said yesterday that it temporarily shut its service in protest.
“Investors took it as a sign that Russia seeks to control Internet and may block even those websites that have nothing to do with any criminal activity,” Alexander Vengranovich, an analyst at Otkritie Financial Corp said by phone from Moscow yesterday. “People are concerned it may turn out to be a Chinese-style control over Internet by the government.”
The Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX), the biggest U.S.-traded exchange-traded fund that holds Russian shares, lost 1.1 percent to $25.79, the lowest since June 28. The RTS Volatility Index, which measures expected swings in the index futures, rose 0.7 percent to 31.24.