Market Report / Telecom shares decline as TA-25 index sheds nearly 2%
The negative movement steepened as shares declined on European exchanges
The trend on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange continued downward yesterday, against the backdrop of speculation over whether Greece would leave the Eurozone.
The negative movement steepened as shares declined on European exchanges. Locally, the reporting on corporate financial results continued.
The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 index closed 1.9% lower for the day, at 1,042.22 while the broader TA-100 index slumped by 1.5% to 965.51, its lowest level in six months. The Banks-15 index dropped by 3.5% while the Real Estate-15 declined by 1%. The day’s trading volume was NIS 1.2 billion.
Communications shares continued to be a major center of attention, after reforms in the sector increased competition, particularly among cellular service providers. Bezeq was the subject of active trading, with nearly NIS 94 million in shares traded. The stock shed about 5% of its value for the day.
Describing future plans for reform in the communications sector, director general of the Communications Ministry, Eden Bar Tal said Tuesday, “The next phase is dealing with the issue of the landline [telephone] market and infrastructure, and the lack of competition in this market, which is delaying infrastructure development and Internet speed.
For the next nine months policy is set to encourage investment in infrastructure.
The injection of competition in the infrastructure market will bring about an improvement in Internet speed, with the primary beneficiaries actually being households and small and medium-sized businesses.”
Israel Chem net rises
Fertilizer giant Israel Chemicals released its first-quarter financial results yesterday, reporting revenues of $1.55 billion, reflecting a 1.6% revenue increase compared to first-quarter 2011, mainly due to the higher price of potash. The company reported net profits of $289 million, up 3% from first-quarter 2011 results. ICL’s shares on the TASE closed nearly 0.8% lower yesterday.
The first-quarter results for cellular firm Partner Communications, which does business as Orange, do not reflect the new competition in the cellular market, which hit full force only this month. The company’s revenues dropped 11% compared to first-quarter 2011, to NIS 1.5 billion.
Revenue from cellular calls, which does not include the take on the sale of cell phones, declined by 2% to NIS 1.2 billion, while the company’s net profits plummeted by 43% to NIS 146 million for the quarter.
For its part, HOT Telecommunications Systems reported revenue increases in every sector of its operations. Overall quarter-on-quarter revenues were 25% higher at NIS 1.03 billion. Nonetheless, quarterly net profits declined by 26%, to NIS 59 million. HOT shares closed 6.5% lower yesterday.
Israel Discount Bank’s mortgage division reported a NIS 14.5 million net profit for the first quarter, a 63% rise compared to the comparable quarter last year.
The mortgage operations showed a 6.5% increase in revenues from interest, which generated NIS 35.9 million.