SANTIAGO The passions of Universidad de Chile soccer club fans spilled over the pitch and into the stock market, as shares of the company that manages the team plummeted on Friday after a resounding loss to Argentina's Boca Juniors in the Libertadores Cup the night before.
Shares in Azul Azul AZU.SN, which runs the popular Chilean soccer club, resumed trading on Friday afternoon to sink 19.5 percent to 1,700 pesos ($3.41 U.S. dollars) after Boca Juniors went up 2-0 against "La U" in the first leg of their semifinal matchup on Thursday.
"Some desperate (shareholders) came out to sell. They're betting the club will be left out of the cup," said Monica Nunez, a trader with Vantrust brokerage in Santiago.
On Friday morning, shares plummeted 32.8 percent to 1,419 pesos ($2.84 U.S. dollars)- prompting the Santiago Stock Exchange to halt trading in Azul Azul, as any share price variation of more than 20 percent automatically prompts a trading suspension.
Shares in Azul Azul are generally volatile after cup clashes. Analysts say the shares are often illiquid, held for sentimental reasons and driven more by fans' passion than economic fundamentals.
The club's shares had climbed steeply in recent months, buoyed by a series of major victories in soccer-crazed Chile.
Santiago's blue-chip IPSA stock index .IPSA was trading 0.57 percent stronger on Friday afternoon.
(Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta. Writing by Anthony Esposito and Alexandra Ulmer. editing by Gunna Dickson)