MOSCOW – Shares in Russia’s largest lender Sberbank fell more than 8% at one point on Friday, leading a massive sell-off on the country’s stock market which hit several blue chip companies and also buffeted bonds and the rouble.
The rouble was volatile after posting its biggest one-day drop in 15 months on Thursday on fears that geopolitical tensions may escalate after talks wrapped up with no breakthrough between Russia and Western allies.
Ukraine was hit by a cyberattack splashing a warning across government websites to “be afraid and expect the worst”, while Russia, which has massed 100,000 troops on its neighbour’s frontier, released pictures of more of its forces on the move.
Shares in state-owned Sberbank, one of the most liquid assets on the Russian market, fell to 249.20 roubles, their lowest since late November 2020, and were down 5.6% by 1444 GMT.
Shares in Sberbank’s closest rival VTB dropped 3.2%, also underperforming the wider MOEX index, which was down 2% at 3,602.6 points after earlier hitting its weakest point since April 2021.
Russia’s leading technology companies were hit hard too, with Nasdaq-listed internet giant Yandex down 2.7% in Moscow and rival VK’s London-listed shares shedding 10.4%.
($1 = 76.6650 roubles)
(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Alexander Marrow; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)