Market report / Tel Aviv stocks wilt as Africa Israel wails for help
Africa Israel stock fell 25.5%. Yields on its bonds skyrocketed, rising as high as 243%, which is past junk territory and all the way into trash compaction.
The story of the day in Tel Aviv was Africa Israel. Top brass at the real estate empire controlled by Lev Leviev admitted yesterday that the company could meet liabilities this year, and could meet liabilities in 2010, but after that ... anyway, Africa Israel stock fell 25.5%. Yields on its bonds skyrocketed, rising as high as 243%, which is past junk territory and all the way into trash compaction.
Africa Israel's tumble dragged down the Real Estate-15 index by 5.5%, but none of the indices were spared investors' wrath. The benchmark TA-25 index lost 2.3% to 950 points, and the broader TA-100 index lost 2.2% to 888 points. Investors, evidently unnerved, clung to the fence in droves, as attested by the relatively weak turnover compared with recent weeks: just NIS 1.4 billion.
Bank Hapoalim has been warning for some time of a spate of profit-taking. Well well. Bank Hapoalim stock fell 3.4% on news that it's the most exposed of all Israel's banks to Mr. Leviev and the Africa Israel group companies. They owe Hapoalim about NIS 2 billion, estimate market sources.
Shares of Bank Leumi fell 3.5% even though its equity analysts predicted a short-term uptick in the markets on expectations of economic stabilization. The bank did warn of intense short-term volatility.
Shares of Yitzhak Tshuva's Delek Group weakened by 3.3% even though the sprawling investments empire reported a second-quarter net profit of NIS 223 million. That's almost five times its net in the corresponding period of 2008. Africa Israel yesterday admitted to losing NIS 1.3 million in the second quarter, by the way, as it had warned investors beforehand.
Koor Industries lost 1.5% despite announcing yet more profit from speculating in Credit Suisse stock. The holding company, which belongs to Nochi Dankner's IDB group, said its third-quarter capital gains from transactions in Credit Suisse stock had reached NIS 305 million as of yesterday.
Moving on to finance sector stocks, I.B.I. lost 1.4% even though the company reported netting NIS 32.6 million in the second quarter of 2009. In the parallel quarter it had netted a mere NIS 8.1 million. The company said rising equity prices were a major driver behind the 53% year-over-year increase in revenues to NIS 82.5 million.