A billion pennies for your thoughts

Vladimir Putin, the ex-president and current prime minister of Russia certainly has a way with words, according to a New York Times story today:

Speaking at an industry conference this week, Mr. Putin, the former president and now prime minister, spoke five sentences critical of a Russian steel company, Mechel, and its billionaire chief executive, Igor Zyuzin.

In a sign of Mr. Putin’s enduring power, the criticism cost shareholders about $1.2 billion a sentence.

Such is the power of Mr. Putin’s words — even after “stepping down” to prime minister in May — that shares in Mechel, a coal mining and steel company, plunged almost 38 percent on the New York Stock Exchange after Mr. Putin complained that the company was charging domestic customers more than its foreign ones.