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A Whisper of Nuclear War Spurs a Sell-Off in a Russian Stock Market via New York Times

MOSCOW — An unusually candid reference to nuclear war by Russia’s prime minister prompted a sell-off in the nation’s stock market this week, underscoring how nervous traders here have become about worsening relations with the West, a street protest movement in Moscow and an overall slump in emerging markets.

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said hasty military incursions could end with radicals in power, a regional war or even to the extreme of using nuclear weapons.

In remarks Thursday afternoon, the prime minister, Dmitri A. Medvedev, uttered the phrase “nuclear weapons” in a reference to the United States. Although oblique, the comment rattled traders, who sent the main stock market index down 3.5 percent within four hours.

By the time the smoke had cleared at the end of trading Friday, the damage had been done: a $24 billion drop in the stock market value of Russia’s publicly traded companies.

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