Weekly Comment on Puerto Rico Stocks
Investors’ concerns about the continuing drop in oil prices and how the world reacted to the Federal Reserve’s first interest-rate hike since 2006 sent stocks down for the day last Friday, and for the week. Volatility was back in full swing as stocks and index options expired Friday under heavy trading. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index had their worst two-day performance since September. Last week’s trading was heavily influenced by the Federal Reserve’s Dec. 16 decision to raise interest rates 25 basis points—the first hike in nearly a decade. A global oil glut amid a slowdown in demand kept Wall Street anxious as well. U.S. oil futures settled last Friday at $34.73 a barrel, down 0.6% for the day and down 2.5% for the week. The S&P Financials Index fell 2.5% last Friday, becoming the day’s worst-performing S&P sector. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway were down 3.3%, becoming the biggest drag on the S&P financials stock index. For the week, the Dow fell 0.8% to 17,128.55. The S&P 500 lost 0.3% to 2,005.55, while the Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 0.2% to 4,923.08.
After falling for two weeks in a row, the Government Development Bank’s Puerto Rico Stock Index (PRSI) managed to close last week in the black, despite the selloff in financial stocks. For the week, the PRSI added 4.72, or 0.28%, to close at 1,720.60. Topping last week’s list of gainers was OFG Bancorp, which gained 38 cents, or 5.59%, to close at $7.18. It was fol-lowed by Evertec Inc., which advanced 21 cents, or 1.26%, to close at $16.86. Shares of Triple-S Management Corp. rose 24 cents, or 1.01%, to close at $23.96. First BanCorp inched up 3 cents, or 0.95%, to close at $3.20. Last week’s sole nongainer was Popular Inc., which erased 29 cents, or 1.05%, to close at $27.46.
BY JOSÉ L. CARMONA
SENIOR REPORTER, BANKING & FINANCE