U.S. Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke.
U.S. Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke. Photo by Bloomberg
Text size

The year 5773 got off to a less than thrilling start on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Wednesday, where encouraging news from the U.S. Federal Reserve and Spain were offset by an unexpectedly high August inflation figure and threats by Palestinian leaders to rescind the Oslo agreement.

The result was a mixed session on turnover of NIS 970 million. The benchmark TA-25 index ended up 0.5% at 1,138.10 points. The TA-100 edged up 0.4% to 1,015.48 while the TA-Banking index added 0.6% to 891.78. The TA-Real Estate index rose 1.1% to 248.44.

But the Oil and Gas index lost 0.8% to 977.85 while the technology and biomed indices fell 1.2% to 354.94 and 1.6% to 714.86, respectively. The Bluetech-50 lost 1.6% to 336.6.

The Communications index jumped 3% to 459.17, lifted by a 6.2% rise in Partner shares, which tracked a rally of the stock in new York over the long weekend.

The Fed announced an open-ended bond-buying program last week, saying it would buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month and signaling a willingness to do more as needed until the outlook for employment improved significantly. The measures are aimed at shoring up a flagging U.S. economy that grew at a 1.7% annual rate in the second quarter.

Spain bets on bonds

Meanwhile Spain is under pressure to request aid and trigger an ECB bond-buying program announced this month to help it bring down a soaring public deficit and high debt. But Spanish government bond yields fell yesterday with market players confident that a debt auction today will go smoothly. .

Against that, the August consumer price index here at home rose 1%, the government reported last Friday. "The last index rose dramatically," said Yaniv Pagot, chief strategist at Ayalon Investment House. "The September index is expected to reach 0.6%, and under the circumstances there is a good chance the Bank of Israel will miss its inflation target for the year."

Pluristem Therapeutics plunged 16% on turnover of NIS 17.5 million after the company issued $32 million in new shares at a discount of 12% to the TASE market price.

Given Imaging rose 0.5% yesterday after the maker of a camera-in-a-capsule technology for diagnosing digestive disorders said it filed for regulatory approval of PillCam COLON 2 in Japan. With an estimated addressable market of approximately one million procedures each year, Japan represents a "significant revenue opportunity," President Homi Shamir said.

ILDC Energy lost 2.2% on news that CEO Ohad Marani and Executive Vice President Eli Cohen both resigned from the board of Canada's GeoGlobal Resources, which is both a subsidiary of ILDC Energy and the operating partner in the Myra and Sara natural gas drillings.

Teva Pharmaceuticals lost 1%. The company announced the first asset disposal by its new CEO, Jeremy Levin, with the $145 million sale of its veterinary-product divisions to the Germany's Bayer. Bezeq rose1.1%. Bondholders said yesterday they are seeking a professional opinion as to whether a NIS 997 million dividend Bezeq is paying risks future bond repayments.

Reuters contributed to this report.