Shares of Yandex (YNDX), the curiously Netherlands-based stock that is Russia's version of Google, exploded higher on Tuesday after the company reported earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter 2021. As of 11:55 a.m. ET today, Yandex stock is up a whopping 16.4%.
But earnings aren't really the reason Yandex is up today.
We know this because Yandex didn't actually have any earnings last quarter, or last year. Fourth-quarter sales grew 54% at Yandex, as did sales for fiscal 2021 as a whole. The company booked sales of 110.3 million rubles ($1.4 million) for the quarter, and 356.2 million rubles for the year. Yandex's profits, on the other hand, were an absolute disaster.
Net losses for the fourth quarter grew 30-fold to 2.9 million rubles. Net losses for the year were even worse, as last year's profit of 20.3 million rubles flipped around to become a loss of 14.6 million rubles in 2021.
Given the size of these losses, I suspect that investors would be selling Yandex stock right about now, not buying, except for one thing: This morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that at least some of the 130,000 troops Russia had massed on the Ukrainian border in anticipation of a possible invasion have begun returning to their bases. Additionally, Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, expressed a willingness to resume negotiations that could potentially result in a trade-off, with NATO agreeing to limit missile deployments in Europe in exchange for Russia leaving Ukraine alone.
The sudden possibility that war will not break out in Eastern Europe has investors breathing a sigh of relief over Yandex today. As one of Russia's biggest tech companies, Yandex would almost certainly have been affected by any new sanctions levied against Russia in response to an invasion of Ukraine. But if war can be avoided, that's good news for Yandex stock.
As the future brightens, therefore, investors are taking a new look at Yandex's guidance to grow sales as much as 40% (to 500 million rubles) in 2022, and they're thinking that if sanctions can be avoided, that has a much greater chance of actually happening.
In my view, this is the real reason Yandex stock is up today.