Stocks pulled back the world over as violence shook Libya. While Muammar Gadhafi dug in and vowed to fight on, oil prices rose in world markets − less because of reported but unconfirmed supply disruptions in Libya, and more on concern that the conflagration would spread to even more central oil-producing Arab nations.
Ripples spread to gold, which jumped 1.4%, and wheat and other grain commodity futures, which fell hard on a broad sell-off all for the same reason − investors reducing risk. “It’s a move to get risk off the table. Anytime a leader sends military planes against their people, it’s bound to cause a panic,” Roy Huckabay, an analyst for The Linn Group, told Reuters.
In fact, markets lost ground around the world, on fear that oil would reach triple digits again − but a major retreat it was not. In Europe the losses were not great: The biggest loser was Paris, with a 1.1% drop. Not too dramatic. In Asia, the losses were steeper: Chinese shares fell 2.8% and Karachi was down 2.6%. If there was an exception, it was the Israeli gas shares, which leaped yesterday.
Over in Tel Aviv, total turnover remained thin at NIS 1.8 billion, indicating that many investors are sitting on the fence, waiting for more developments before making any moves. The benchmark TA-25 index dropped 1.3% to 1,314 points, while the broader TA-100 index lost the same to 1,212 points.
Bank shares fell 1.5% and the Real Estate-15 index finished nearly 2% lower. Bonds were steady.
Among the movers yesterday were the “gas shares.” Avner units gained 5.6%, Ratio Oil Exploration soared 11.7%, and Delek Drilling jumped 4.5%.
Shares of biomed company Procognia tumbled nearly 15% − but then they’d risen 300% in recent weeks, since the company’s acquisition by Tzahi Sultan and Nir Peleg. The drop yesterday was technical.
Gilat Satellite Networks lost 3.4%.
Ratio proved the most active share yesterday, on turnover of a quarter-billion shekels, and phone company Bezeq came in second: Its share price steadily lost ground during the trading day, ending 2.1% lower on turnover of NIS 128 million.
Among the mid-cap pack, which lost 2%, the steepest losses were by and large among real estate companies: Africa Israel Residences, Danya Cebus (also an Africa Israel group company), Delek Real Estate, and Adgar all lost more than 3%. (With reporting by Reuters and Eran Azran)
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