Moscow shares dip on Navalny jailing

The Moscow stock exchange on Thursday dipped by more than one percent on the news that opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced to prison.

Micex, the Russian exchange, was trending upwards but sharply dropped when the judge in northern Kirov region sentenced Navalny at 0820 GMT to five years in a penal colony and ordered his arrest.

It was trading 1.3 percent down one hour after the sentence.

"This is not a good sign," Alfa Bank economist Natalia Orlova said of the verdict.

"Very few people believe that he is truly guilty," she told AFP. "Even if he had some financial dealings, it's difficult to imagine that he must spend five years in prison."

"It's not the first case, so it's not a great blow to the business climate, but it's a sign that the situation is not changing," she added.

Russia's influential former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said on Twitter that Navalny's sentence "is not so much punishment, but aims to isolate him from public life and electoral process".