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One of the Biggest Fund Owners of Puerto Rico Bonds Slashes Its Holdings

  • Mutual funds sell as Puerto Rico debt gained 26.5% this year
  • Franklin reduces sales-tax bond exposure by $86 million

OppenheimerFunds Inc. and Franklin Advisers Inc. slashed their holdings of Puerto Rico bonds this year, taking advantage of a record rally in the price of the distressed island’s debt.

It marks the first major retreat for OppenheimerFunds, one of the biggest mutual-fund owners of Puerto Rico debt and a company that’s playing a major role in its bankruptcy. The firm decreased its holdings by nearly $1.6 billion by eliminating $610 million of sales-tax bonds, $376 million of electric utility debt, and $570 million of general-obligation bonds and other commonwealth-backed securities between Jan. 30 and Sept. 6, according to a court document filed late Tuesday.