On Tuesday, when Castro failed to make an appearance at May Day celebrations in Havana, the Herzfeld (the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund [ticker: CUBA]) fund soared 11.8 percent. This closed-end fund, which trades on the Nasdaq exchange just as stocks do, invests in stocks that stand to gain once the United States lifts its trade embargo against Cuba.
The fund’s share price has been tightly correlated with Castro’s health for the past year, rising when news reports have indicated that the Cuban leader is gravely ill and falling when there are signs of his recovery. Castro temporarily stepped down as president on July 31 last year after emergency surgery, naming his brother, Raul, as acting president. The fund’s share price leaped 12.8 percent the next day.
Castro met with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela on Jan. 30. From that point until early last week, the fund plunged 21 percent on speculation that Castro had recovered.