Russian Stocks, Currency Soar On Reports U.S. Will Lift Some Sanctions

The Russian ruble and its stock market jumped on Thursday after media reports that the Treasury Department would ease sanctions on Russia's intelligence agency. The dollar fell more than 2% against the ruble after the initial reports, but soon recovered some of that decline after President Donald Trump's press secretary Sean Spicer denied that sanctions had been lifted. Still, the greenback was off 1.5% at 59.18 rubles, on track for its second-worst daily performance of the year. Russian stocks also soared on the news. The iShares MSCI Russian Capped ETF rose 1% to $34.22. Trump has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin while also criticizing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. These comments have been especially controversial in light of Russia's annexation of Crimea, and the continued fighting between government forces and Russia-backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine.

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