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Stocks

Russia-linked Singaporean stocks slow to bounce back

SINGAPORE -- Asian stocks climbed broadly Monday as crude oil temporarily stopped tumbling, with Singapore's STI Index rising 1.56% from the end of last week to 3,330.96. But companies whose business largely depends on Russia have seen lackluster recoveries.

     Food Empire, which sells its mainstay instant coffee primarily in Russia and Ukraine, saw its stock rebound Monday, but the price is still about 30% lower than at the end of January.

     The company bled red ink in the July-September period largely due to foreign exchange losses resulting from the weak ruble. The stock has been trending downward since late February, when the Ukraine crisis deepened. The flailing ruble has been further weighing down the stock price.

     Agricultural trading house Olam International stock has also been sluggish. It acquired a Russian dairy company in 2012, presuming that dairy consumption in Eastern Europe will expand.

     But in light of the company's far-flung operations, the weak ruble may not be Olam's only problem. But if current conditions continue, the company's future emerging-market business could be hampered.

     Given their small home market, many Singaporean companies have counted on emerging countries as venues for expansion. The plunging ruble, however, underscores the risks inherent in these nascent markets.

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