Business in Brief / Euro Weakens to 12-year Low Against Shekel

Teva spurned Pfizer buyoff, Bloomberg says; Shlomo Group has no plans for IPO right now; Drop in financial services salaries bottoms out; Energy stocks rally on antitrust speculation.

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Israeli shekels. (illustrative)
Euro closed down nearly 2.5 percent against the shekel, its lowest since May 2002.Credit: Reuters

Euro weakens to 12-year low against shekel

The euro closed down nearly 2.5% against the shekel on Friday, to its lowest since May 2002, a day after the European Central Bank announced a government bond-buying program that will pump hundreds of billions in new money into a sagging euro-zone economy. The European currency was set at a Bank of Israel rate of 4.4.638 shekels. The dollar, which strengthened against the euro after the ECB’s move, gained on the shekel, adding 0.7% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.9630 shekels. Union Bank of Israel said it expected to see Israeli bond yields drop from already very low levels as Europe engages on a program of quantitative expansion and falling interest rates that will drive capital to the United States and lower rates there as well. “Because there’s a correlation between our shekel rates and those in the United States we’ll see a continued decline in yields in the short term, even though they are already very low,” the bank said. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Teva spurned Pfizer buyoff, Bloomberg says

Teva Pharmaceuticals spurned feelers from the U.S. drug maker Pfizer late last year to buy it out, Bloomberg news reported over the weekend. Because Teva turned down even the idea of exploratory talks no terms were even discussed, unidentified sources told Bloomberg. The approach by Pfizer showed how broad the company’s search for buyouts became after it failed to buy the British drugmaker AstraZeneca last year in a deal worth close to $120 billion. Shares of Teva, which has a $51.2 billion market capitalization, closed up 1.9% at 235 shekels ($58.70) on Sunday. (Yoram Gabison)

Shlomo Group has no plans for IPO right now

Shlomo Group, whose businesses include auto leasing, importing and insurance, has no immediate plans to go public after the untimely death of its founder Shlomo Shmeltzer six months ago. “At the moment we have no such plans,” said Asi Shmeltzer, who has taken over as chairman. “All our companies are profitable. We are a working family that is organized and gets along and has no need for money or to create value for the itself ... There’s always talk of increasing the group’s value, but nothing is happening with that right now.” Shmeltzer spoke after Shlomo Group raised 300 million shekels ($74.9 million) last week by expanding two existing bond series in a pre-sale to institutional investors before the public tranche on Monday. (Michael Rochvarger)

Drop in financial services salaries bottoms out

The five-year decline in salaries for financial professionals came to halt in 2014, a survey by the job placement company Starting Point has found, citing a 20% increase in job openings after years of decline. It said investment marketers earned monthly salaries of 7,000 shekels to 11,000 shekels ($1,750-2,750) last year, while department heads made from 24,000 to 35,000 shekels. Starting equity analysts earn 7,000 shekels while a senior analyst with several years of experience gets 19,000 shekels, the company said. Starting traders also make about 7,000 shekels a month; experienced traders can reach 15,000 shekels a month. (Haim Bior)

Energy stocks rally on antitrust speculation

Energy stocks rallied yesterdau lifted by reports that the Leviathan gas field partners would reach a compromise with antitrust authorities on their monopoly status rather than go to court. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s Oil and Gas index closed more than 5% higher, with Delek Drilling adding 8.5% to 14.53 shekels ($3.63), Avner 8% to end at 2.68 shekels and Ratio 7.7% to 32 agorot. The rally lifted the benchmark TA-25 index to 1.459.56 points, a gain of close to 0.3% for the day. The TA-100 index rose 0.3% to close at 1,275.65. Turnover was relatively heavy, at 995 million shekels. Apart from energy and technology stocks, however, the market was mostly down. The IDB group extended its losses with IDB Development Corporation tumbling 12.4% to close at 1.22 shekels and Discount Investment Corp. down 3.9% to 6.09 shekels. Cellcom Israel lost 2.9% to end at 20.25 shekels and Partner (Orange) down 3.1% at 12.93 shekels. (Omri Zerachovitz) 

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