Call it the crisis that wasn’t. The Crimean referendum to secede from Ukraine and unite with Russia — which, by the way, it was a part of prior to 1954 — passed with a whopping 95% of Crimea residents opting for secession.
This guarantees that the Russian troops occupying the peninsula won’t be going anywhere any time soon — regardless of any threatened Western sanctions. Meanwhile, both Russia and Ukraine are mobilizing troops along their border.
No matter how this turns out, one thing is clear: political relations between Russia and the West are at the lowest point since the fall of communism.
Notice I said political relations. We may very well be entering a “cold war” of sorts in which Russian-Western official cooperation goes into deep freeze. The United States and Europe feel honor-bound to support Ukraine diplomatically. But both have too much to lose from antagonizing Russia too deeply. Europe needs Russian energy, and the U.S. needs Russia’s influence in Iran and Syria. My bet is that Russia gets a good slap on the wrist, and then we return to business as usual.
Mr. Market would seem to agree. Russian stocks rallied hard on Monday, and most world markets saw solid gains. So, how can we profit from the non-crisis in the Ukraine? Exchange-traded funds are a good start. Here are three ETFs to buy.