Market Report / Mixed Results on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Shares of Orckit, Alvarion dive deep after Tuesday’s big gains.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished Wednesday’s trading session mixed, with a negative bias on light trading yet again. The big local news was the Bank of Israel’s newest restrictions on mortgages (see story) and the battle for control of Clal Insurance. On the global front, meanwhile, investors waited for the U.S. Federal Reserve to publish the minutes of its July policy meeting, expected later last night.

The blue-chip TA-25 index closed down 0.4%, at 1,203 points, while the broader TA-100 index closed down 0.2%, at 1,097 points. The Banks-5 index closed unchanged, while the Real Estate-15 index lost 0.3%. The Israeli version of the VIX index of stock market volatility, known as the fear index, jumped 7.3%.

Total turnover was a low NIS 750 million, well below July’s NIS 1 billion daily average: Many traders are on vacation.

In Europe, the European Central Bank joined Germany yesterday in playing down talk of a third bailout package for Greece, but reaffirmed that the euro zone would help the country trim debt as long as it stuck to its latest aid program. European shares edged lower.

In Asia, Japanese shares bounced back from a seven-week low. In Hong Kong, shares posted their fifth straight day of losses.

Over on Wall Street, shares started the day with losses, with investors reluctant to make big bets before the Fed published its minutes.

Back in Israel, notable shares included Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel, which lost 3.3%. Norway’s $750 billion sovereign wealth fund was cleared Wednesday to invest in the company again, after the Norwegian finance ministry concluded that it was no longer involved in construction in West Bank settlements.

Shares of Nochi Dankner’s IDB Holding Corporation gained 11.7% Wednesday, on news that subsidiary IDB Development Corp. had a buyer for some of its Clal Insurance shares at a 30% premium over their market price. Clal gained 1.8%.

Compugen shot up 7.7%. Wednesday it emerged that Compugen’s drug Stivarga was approved for treating tumor patients in Japan. The gain puts it up 83% for the month.

Frutarom gained 3.6% after releasing its financial report. The flavoring company posted a 30% increase in net profit - to $17.6 million - on record quarterly revenue due to acquisitions and the launch of products with higher margins.

Shares of Orckit and Alvarion plunghed 40% and 30%, respectively, after posting even sharper gains Tuesday. Alvarion ended Tuesday’s trading sesson on Wall Street with a significant arbitrage gap vis-a-vis Tel Aviv.

Biomed share Opko Health finished its first day of trading yesterday with a 7.4% gain.

Biocancell gained 27% after closing with sharp losses over the past several days.

Other notable shares included Ashtrom Assets, which lost 2.4%; Gvaot Olam, which lost 2.4%; and Hadera Paper, which lost 2.3%.

With reporting by Reuters.

Ofer Vaknin