Market Report

TA-25 Index Gains, Lifted by Overseas Markets

Shares of Babylon plunge 7% on loss of Ask.com contract

Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange reached new highs Thursday, buoyed by high markets abroad.

The benchmark TA-25 index rose 0.5%, to 1,358.23 points while the broader TA-100 index rose 0.3%, to 1,2189.10 points. Turnover was NIS 1.47 billion. The November options contract on the TA-25 index, also known as Maof, was fixed at 1,353.64 set in the morning.

Thursday’s session brought the gains of the TA-25 index to 1%, leaving it with a year-to-date increase of 14.6%. The TA-100 index was up a more moderate 0.5%, but still up 16.2% for the year to date. The week’s leading index was the Banks-5 index. It rose 2.9%, bringing its year-to-date advance to 17.7%.

World shares edged toward six-year highs Thursday, while the yen languished at long-term lows against the euro and dollar after a batch of strong U.S. economic data boosted investor sentiment.

The signs of an improving U.S. jobs market and more cheerful consumers had spurred Wall Street to a record close on Wednesday, while reinforcing talk that the Federal Reserve could start scaling back its stimulus, which supported the dollar.

Wall Street was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Germany’s DAX touched an all-time high to lead the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.4% to 1,305.02 points, edging toward a third straight month of gains. MSCI’s world equity index, which tracks share moves across 45 countries, barely flinched though and a 0.25% gain took it closer to its best level since the start of 2008. 

In foreign currency trading, the dollar weakened 0.2% to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.5340. The euro also lost 0.2% to the shekel to NIS 4.8041.

Currency trader FXCM said the dollar exchange rate globally would be affected by two events next month – publication of U.S. employment data and the next meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, which is expected to announce a scaling back of its bond-buying program.

“A development like that is likely to shuffle the deck and bring a significant strengthening of the dollar. The employment data to be released next week will help solidify expectations from the Fed interest rate meeting,” FXCM said.

The fixed-income market was quiet. The Tel Bond-20, -40 and -60 indexes all rose about 0.1%. The government’s 10-year shekel bond edged up 0.1% to a yield of 3.57%. Its 10-year inflation-linked Galil bond fell 0.09%, raising the yield to 1.42%.

Shares of Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments rose 6.7% after the property holding company swung to a net profit in the third quarter as its Russian subsidiary recovered from losses and business grew in Israel and Europe. Africa Israel said it earned NIS 43 million, compared to a loss of NIS 181 million a year earlier.

Delek Group shares declined 0.8% after company reported a 25% drop in quarterly net profit due to a loss in its U.S. fuel sector operations and a one-time tax expense. Yitzhak Tshuva’s holding company earned NIS 70 million in the third quarter, down from NIS 93 million a year earlier.

Other big gainers were Oil Refineries, Allot Communications, which gained 3%, Harel Insurance, which led insurers higher with a 2.6% rise and Osem Investments, up 2.5%.

Babylon tumbled 7.1%, making it the biggest loser among TA-100 index stocks. The online translation company said Thursday that the question answering-focused web search engine Ask.com will not renew its contract, marking another setback for Babylon after losing its contract with Google.

Biotech stocks were lower, paced by drops of 3.6% for Protalix and 2.8% for Pluristem. Mazor Robotics dropped 3.2%, Brainsway by 2.1% and Evogene by 1.6%.

With reporting from Reuters.

At the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, 2011.
Bloomberg