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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Comparing Markets as Oil Prices Fall

Yesterday, the RTSE index of the Russian stock market gained 2.17%, clawing back some of the horrifying 15% loss the index has sustained over the past month as oil prices have begun to recede. The total value of all shares traded on the exchange was $504,972,015.

Meanwhile, the DJIA index of the New York Stock Exchange (just one of several in America. to be listed on the NYSE a company must have at least $2.5 million in earnings and at least 1 million shares) gained 0.81%, soaring to the second-best closing value in its history. Nearly three billion shares of stock were traded. Even if each share was only worth a dollar, six times more value moved on this single American exchange than in all of Russia. If the average share price was $10, then sixty times more value moved on the NYSE than in all of Russia. If we assume the average share price was $50, then three hundred times more value moved on the NYSE alone than in all of Russia, despite the high price of oil which greatly benefits the Russian exchange while undermining that of the United States. In other words, the Russian stock market, with all its recent growth attributable to oil prices, is still microscopically small compared to that of America.

As the price of oil drops, the American market surges and the Russian market slumps. Once again, we see the direct interest Russia has to inflate the price of crude oil by doing whatever it can to foment turmoil in the Middle East. This is an issue to which Americans need to begin paying increasingly close attention.

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