Business in Brief - Dollar Reaches Two-year High Against Shekel

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Israeli shekels are worth more in euro or dollar terms than for many years.Credit: Reuters

Dollar reaches two-year high against shekel

The dollar gained 0.4% against the shekel to close at a two-year high of 3.841 shekels, as Israel’s currency lost ground against all the major currencies yesterday on the background of the deadly terrorist attack that took place at a Jerusalem synagogue. The euro gained 0.5% against the shekel, closing at a representative rate of 4.804 shekels. The dollar has not been so strong against the shekel since November 2012. The dollar has gained 12% against the shekel since early August, following Operation Protective Edge and a decision by Israel’s central bank to cut interest rates to an unprecedented low of 0.25%. The exchange rates are also influenced by the political uncertainty in Israel, including the stalemate over the budget. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank Q3 profit beats estimates

Israel’s top mortgage lender, Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank, beat forecasts for its third-quarter net profit thanks to a fall in bad loans and an increase in lending, the bank said yesterday. Mizrahi-Tefahot reported a record profit of 304 million shekels ($79.3 million) in the third quarter, up from 301 million a year earlier and above an average forecast in a Reuters poll of 285 million shekels. Financing income rose 3.2 percent to 944 million shekels, while its provision for credit losses fell to 5 million shekels from 68 million. It said bank loans to the public increased 7.3 percent over the past year, reflecting growth in the retail and business sectors. (Reuters)

TASE posts small gains

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished yesterday’s trading session with minor gains, boosted by a positive opening on Wall Street yesterday afternoon. The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index gained 0.2% to close at 1,450 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index gained 0.2% to close at 1,295 points. The Banks-5 lost 0.2%, after trading for most of the day in the green; the Real Estate-15 closed down with losses of less than 0.1%. Total turnover was a rather average 1.06 billion shekels. Notable shares included Mizrahi-Tefahot, which gained 1.6% after reporting third-quarter net profit of $304 million, up from $301 million in the same period last year; and clothing chain Fox, which lost 1.8% after reporting net profit of 18 million shekels for the quarter, down 14% from the parallel. (Omri Zerachovitz)

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