Market Report

Tel Aviv Indexes All Slightly Down but Babylon Bounces Back and El Al Soars

The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index dropped slightly Monday, but is still trading only 4$ off its record high. Good day for translation software company Babylon, while El Al shares take off after investment talks.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed Monday's trading session with losses in nearly all the major indexes, as shares in Europe and Asia closed with mixed results as indexes brushed at record highs. The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index is currently trading only 4% under its all-time high – 1,338 points, set in 2011.

The TA-25 lost 0.6% to close at 1,285 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index also lost 0.6%, to close at 1,164 points. The Real Estate-15 closed virtually unchanged, down 0.01%, while oil and gas shares lost 0.6%. Technology shares lost 0.5%, while biomed shares were down 0.4% and the Banks-5 was off 0.4%, too. Total turnover was NIS 1.17 billion, about average as of late.

In Europe, stocks steadied near five-year highs, propped up by robust corporate earnings, but with some strategists taking profits from the recent rally. Britain’s top share index edged down after hitting a five-month high. In Asia, the Nikkei stock average bounced back Monday, recouping most of its steep losses suffered at the end of last week. Hong Kong shares snapped a four-day losing streak, rebounding from seven-week lows.

Meanwhile, the dollar edged higher Monday but held close to a nine-month low against a basket of currencies, with most investors convinced the Federal Reserve will maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy this week and in the months ahead.

Back in Tel Aviv, notable shares included translation software company Babylon, which gained 5% after losing a total of 35% over the past month after Yahoo! stated it was in violation of the two companies’ contract, throwing Babylon’s planned merger with ironSource into question.

El Al gained 5%. Earlier this week it emerged that former Bezeq CEO Avi Gabay is pulling together a group of investors to invest in the airline, after a previous attempt to bring in Ishay Davidi’s FIMI fund failed.

Bezeq lost 2.7%. The telecommunications firm’s share is up 90% for the past year. Bezeq’s parent company, B Communications, lost 4.7%, and B-Comm’s parent company, Internet Gold, lost 7%.

Evogene lost 0.4%. On Monday morning it announced it had signed a contract extending its agreement with U.S. pesticide giant Monsanto. This had been one of the big uncertainties hanging over its pending Wall Street share issue. Evogene develops programs to identify genes that could improve agricultural crops.

Teva Pharmaceuticals lost 0.8%. Chairman Jeremy Levin denied a report on Channel 2 that he was at odds with the company’s board amid a plan to lay off 5,000 employees from the company’s global workforce.

IDB Holding Corp. gained 1.6%. Court-appointed expert Eyal Gabbai published a new valuation for subsidiary IDB Development Corp., stating that it is worth between NIS 870 million and NIS 1.1 billion – approximately 18% more than the NIS 700 million to NIS 944m cited previously.

Alrov and Alrov Real Estate gained 4% and 3.3%, respectively, on top of 4% gains on Sunday amid high turnover.

With reporting by Reuters.

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