Maariv losses grew in third quarter: Maariv belatedly published its results for the third quarter of 2012, and sorry results they were. In this last quarter owned by the IDB group, Maariv reported losing NIS 106 million in net terms, compared with losing NIS 34 million in the same period of 2011. Revenues sank 22% year over year to NIS 54 million as advertising income shrank. Gross profit contracted 60% year over year to NIS 4.1 million, or 7.6% of turnover, versus 14.7% of turnover the year before. Cost-cutting, including heavy dismissals, helped Maariv reduce its cost of sales by 16% but its operating loss grew by 25% against the same period of the year before to NIS 38.6 million.

Watchdog blocks ILDC dividend payout: The Israel Securities Authority stopped Israel Land Development Corporation from paying dividends to shareholders that the holding company announced three weeks ago. The holding company reported that it had been advised to revisit the way it booked investment in Sara and Myra, two deep-sea gas prospects that came up dry. ILDC is invested in them through its subsidiary ILDC Energy (55%), which owns 41% of the rights to the two sub-sea sites. But when they disappointed, ILDC didn't write down their value in its books, citing the potential that oil could still be found there. ILDC had planned to give its shareholders NIS 33 million in January. Meanwhile ILDC has put off the planned payout to February 17.

Electra Real Estate sells Chicago building: Electra Real Estate on Sunday sold an office building in Chicago for NIS 349 million. Its share of the deal is NIS 209 million. Electra Real Estate, which is owned by Gershon Salkind, has been divesting assets to service the NIS 1.2 billionin current liabilities to bondholders and banks. It has NIS 180 million cash and financial assets available for sale worth NSI 60 million, but it has to pay out NIS 725 million in the 12 months to come.

Can-Fite psoriasis drug delivers promising mid-trial results: Can-Fite Biopharma this week reported positive intermediate results for Phase II clinical trials of the drug CF-101, which is being developed to treat for moderate to severe psoriasis. CF 101's effectiveness over a 24 week-course of treatment is similar to other drugs in the advanced develop stage, including Cellgene's Apremilast and Pfizer's Tofacitinib, which was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Based on an analysis of the results from the first 103 patients, Can-Fite is recruiting more patients for a 300-person trial that will span the United States, Europe and Israel. The estimated market for psoriasis drugs is $3.6 billion per year.

Public portfolio grew by NIS 4 billion in November: The public portfolio of financial assets grew by NIS 4 billion in November to NIS 2.69 trillion, the Bank of Israel stated this week. Financial assets linked to foreign currency shrank by 2.5%, while assets linked to the CPI and unlinked ones increased by something under 1%. The public holds nearly 35% of its financial assets in unindexed vehicles, while linked ones constitute 32.5% of the public portfolio.

With reporting by Yoram Gabison, Oren Freund and Eran Azran