Weekly Comment on Puerto Rico Stocks
BY JOSÉ L. CARMONA
Plunging crude-oil prices sent stocks sharply lower last Friday, with the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index ending its worst week in five months. The drop in oil increased investors’ concerns about weakness in commodities stocks, ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Dec. 15-16 meeting where an interest-rate hike was on the table. Brent crude-oil futures fell below $38—nearly a seven-year low—while U.S. crude-oil futures fell to just above $35 a barrel. In a report, the International Energy Agency said it expected the oil-supply glut to worsen next year as demand slows and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) doesn’t intend to slow production to maintain market share. To add to investors’ somber mood, China’s yuan fell to its lowest level in four and half years, on concerns about the Asian country’s slowing economy and the impending U.S. interest-rate hike. The S&P Energy Index fell 3.4%, losing 11% since the beginning of December—it’s worst month since September 2011. For the week, The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.3% to 17,265.21. The S&P sank 3.8% to 2,012.37, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 4.1% to 4,933.47.
On the local front, the Government Development Bank’s Puerto Rico Stock Index (PRSI) fell for the second week in a row, this time with all components dragged down by the market’s selloff , which also had an impact on financial stocks. For the week, the PRSI lost 113.34, or 6.20%, to close at 1,715.88. Topping last week’s list of nongainers was OFG Bancorp, which erased $1.08, or 13.71%, to close at $6.80. It was followed by First BanCorp, which edged down 28 cents, or 8.12%, to close at $3.17. Shares of Triple-S Management Corp. fell $1.78, or 6.98%, to close at $23.72. Popular Inc. trimmed $1.54, or 5.26%, to close at $27.75. Evertec Inc. lost 87 cents, or 4.97%, to close at $16.65.