GO
Loading...

Terrific opportunity to invest in Russia, says pro

Concern over the crisis in Ukraine weighed on the market Thursday, sending shares lower. However, the conflict has provided a buying opportunity, particularly in Russian names, one portfolio manager told CNBC Thursday.

"It's a terrific opportunity to invest in Russia," Leader Capital CIO John Lekas said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

The MICEX index of Russian stocks trades at less than a P/E of 5 on a go-forward basis, he added.

Read MoreThese 'hated' stocks stand to do very well: Jim Grant

"It's a simple play on natural gas and oil," Lekas said. "Ukraine is non-strategic and should get resolved here sooner than later, I would suspect this week or next."

An electronic board displays a rising stock index curve at the Micex-RTS Moscow Exchange, Russia's benchmark stock index, in Moscow.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An electronic board displays a rising stock index curve at the Micex-RTS Moscow Exchange, Russia's benchmark stock index, in Moscow.

Lekas has invested more than $20 million into the Russian market this week, specifically buying dollar-denominated bonds.

"We're getting 8 to 9 percent and I think we have another 10 to 15 percent in upside when this thing is resolved and those bonds go back to normal levels," he said.

On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Russia to "step back from the brink" of war by pulling its troops back from the Ukrainian border. He also warned further intervention in Ukraine would bring it greater isolation in the world.

Russia has fired back on sanctions imposed by the West by banning fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway.

Read MoreFood fight! Russia bans Western imports for a year

Supermarkets in Russia are already getting jittery, but the Russian government has said it will find alternative suppliers to bring food into the country, said Lauren Goodrich, senior Eurasia analyst with the geopolitical intelligence firm Statfor.

Officials will also try to avoid any domestic unrest over the food supply.

"Russia will try to keep inflation low. They'll have to pump billions of dollars into the system in order to keep food prices capped and then they are going to have to, within the next two months, quickly find alternatives," Goodrich told "Street Signs."

Read MoreRussia retaliates with sanctions: Winners and losers

In fact, Russia President Vladimir Putin's approval ratings have skyrocketed this week, with citizens rallying around their president because they feel he's being unjustly attacked by the West, she said.

"Russia is trying to change the dialogue from it's not an invasion into Ukraine, it is a humanitarian peacekeeping issue," Goodrich noted.

—By CNBC's Michelle Fox. Reuters contributed to this report.

Contact Stocks

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.
    › Learn More