Business in Brief: Tel Aviv Shares Eke Out Gains as Energy Shares Rally

Teva migraine drug fails to win coverage by major pharma benefit manager ■ S&P affirms Israel’s credit rating despite fiscal setbacks

File Photo: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Tel Aviv.
Ofer Vaknin

Teva migraine drug fails to win coverage by major pharma benefit manager

In a blow to Teva Pharmaceuticals, OptumRx, a top U.S. pharmacy benefit manager, has included new migraine drugs from Amgen and Eli Lilly on its coverage list but not Teva’s Ajovy. An OptumRx client note viewed by Reuters showed that Ajovy was excluded on one list and available on a second list to patients if they are prepared to pay more for it. OptumRx’s decision means Lilly’s Emgality is covered by all three of big pharma benefit managers, including CVS and Express Scripts. Teva’s Ajovy only has preferred status at CVS, while Amgen has it at OptumRx and Express Scripts. On the positive side, a European Medicines Agency panel on Friday recommended approving Ajovy. While final approvals are up to the European Commission, it generally follows the CHMP’s recommendation and endorses them within a couple of months. “A final decision is expected in the first half of 2019,” Teva said. Teva shares fell 1.9% at 71.43 shekels ($19.64) on Sunday. (Reuters)

S&P affirms Israel’s credit rating despite fiscal setbacks

In spite of Israel’s growing fiscal problems, Standard & Poor’s over the weekend affirmed Israel’s sovereign credit rating at AA-minus with a Stable outlook. S&P said Israeli economic growth would remain strong even if global growth slows. It lowered its forecast for Israel to 3.2% this year but raised its 2020 figure to 3.4%. Israel’s net sovereign debt will rise from 58.3% of gross domestic product at the end of last year to 58.6% at the end of 2019, but will resume falling subsequently, it said. Although gross foreign debt rose last year to 61.2% of GDP, S&P said it expected it to start declining again. The budget deficit will reach 3.3% of GDP in 2019, wider than the targeted 2.9%, but will fall in subsequently years, S&P said. Its economists said that while this year’s election was hard to forecast, polls point to no more than small changes from the current government. (Avi Waksman)

Tel Aviv shares eke out gains as energy shares rally

Tel Aviv shares posted slight gains on Sunday in tepid trading as oil shares rallied. The benchmark TA-35 index finished just 0.05% higher at 1,554.86 points, while the TA-125 gained 0.15% to 1,415.30, on turnover of 542 million shekels ($149 million). Ratio Riding global rises on oil prices, Ratio Petroleum led energy shares higher, adding 3% to end at 1.87 shekels. Ratio itself climbed 2.1% to 2.95 and Delek Drilling 2.8% to 11.47. Cannabis shares traded mixed, with Whitestone jumping 10.5% to 2.19 while Dunivo Pharmaceuticals plunged 13.1% to 2.96. BioTime, which rallied last week on news of positive results from trials of its DetermaV, a liquid biopsy test for lung cancer diagnosis, fell sharply for a second session on Sunday, losing 4.6% to 4.73. Volume leader Elbit Systems rose 0.6% to close at 451.670. In foreign currency trading, the euro weakened 0.6% to a representative rate of 4.1588 shekels on Friday. (Assa Sasson)