It's been more than three weeks since Russian troops entered Crimea, leading to the region's takeover by Russia. Since then, Russia has captured several military bases, Crimeans voted for secession from Ukraine in favor of joining Russia, and the U.S. and its NATO allies expelled Russia from the latest G-8 summit.
But global markets have had little reaction to these developments.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) midday Tuesday was little changed from its closing price on February 28, the day Russia first entered Crimea. The iShares European ETF (IEV) is down only 2% from its close on February 28.
Why the shrug?
"It's contained," says David Kotok, co-founder, chairman and chief investment officer of Cumberland Advisors, in the video above. "Crimea is a done deal...as long as troops and tanks and helicopters don't move into Central Europe, this is a contained, isolated event."
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But there appear to be some market fears that such a move could happen. Why else would the Central Europe, Russia and Turkey ETF (CEE) be trading trading about 10% below its late-February close?
Kotok says there is a possibility that Russia will move further into the Ukraine given the precedent of its aggressive move into Georgia in August 2008. "Russia [then] seized the opportunity to gain a little more real estate," says Kotok. "That could happen in Crimea," but he adds that neither Russia, the U.S. nor Europe wants a "full-blown war, which increases the likelihood" that Russia's takeover of Crimea will be "a contained event."
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Given this global political backdrop, Kotok prefers U.S. stocks to European shares but he advises investors to have "some exposure" to Europe. He's fully invested in the stock market currently and favors energy as well as housing-related sectors. "Stay invested -- markets are going higher," says Kotok.
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