On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the imposition of new sanctions targeting seven Russian oligarchs, a dozen of their owned or controlled companies, and 17 senior Russian government officials. The Russian stock market promptly plummeted.
On Monday, the Russian RTS stock index plunged more than 11% in value, taking many of the "Russia stocks" most closely associated with the country along with it. Shares of both Yandex (NASDAQ:YNDX) and Public Joint-Stock Company Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT) were down between 12% and 13%, while Veon Ltd (NASDAQ:VEON) has shed 18%.
This kind of looks like a knee-jerk reaction, though. None of the three stocks named, after all, is on the Treasury Department's sanctions list. What's more, they may not go on the list in the future, either. Veon's CEO has gone on record saying he doesn't think the company will become a target of sanctions.
On the other hand, Ukraine has sanctioned Yandex. And there's really no telling whether or when these companies might be targeted for sanctions of their own. The longer the tit-for-tat game of sanction, retaliation, sanction-for-retaliation goes on, the greater the collateral damage could become.
Still, for the time being, investors appear to have been gifted a chance to buy shares of Yandex, Mobile TeleSystems, and Veon at a post-sanctions discount, despite the fact that they haven't been sanctioned at all.
All three companies are free cash flow positive. Two of them, Yandex and Mobile TeleSystems, are GAAP profitable. One of them, Yandex, even hits the trifecta -- profitable, free cash flow positive, and net-debt-free.
Opportunity may be knocking here for intrepid investors.