Colombian stocks rose Thursday, tracking the sharp gains in U.S. markets as investors cheered a deal by European leaders to try to resolve the region’s debt woes, while the peso strengthened against the dollar.
The Colcap index, the most widely used benchmark for Colombia’s blue-chip stocks, rose 1.02% to end the session at 1,639.95 points. The index is down 10.08% so far this year.
The gains Thursday were led by Pacific Rubiales Energy, a Toronto-based oil firm that ranks as the largest independent crude producer in Colombia. The company, which has been in the middle of a labor dispute with unions, is facing a strike that started earlier this week but that has not yet forced the firm to halt or reduce production.
Pacific Rubiales’ shares rose 2.04% to COP45.920.
The company’s problems could end after regional and municipal elections are held Sunday, Canaccord Genuity said in a research note. “It is our understanding that the union activism at the field is politically motivated,” the firm said. “We are hopeful that the incidents will subside after municipal elections are held.”
Ecopetrol SA, the state-run oil firm, rose 1.75% to COP4,065. Ecopetrol said Thursday that it had found oil in an exploratory well in the Gulf of Mexico, the company’s first success in that region. The well is operated by Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil ASA while Ecopetrol has a 20% stake in the project.
The Colombian peso, meanwhile, strengthened to COP1,861.00 to the dollar from COP1,883.00 a day earlier. The yield on Colombia’s peso-denominated bond due July 2024 closed at 7.457%, after opening the session at 7.405%.