Market Report / TASE Feels Cool European Winds

Equity markets around the world fell and the dollar weakened on Wednesday as investors shifted to safer government debt.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished Wednesday's trading session with losses, carried downward on cool winds from Europe.

Most of the major indexes closed in the red, with the blue-chip Tel Aviv 25 Index losing 0.45% to close at 1,226 points and the broader Tel Aviv 100 Index dropping 0.6% to close at 1,104 points.

Turnover totaled NIS 927 million.

Equity markets around the world fell, and the dollar weakened on Wednesday as investors shifted to safer government debt after soft U.S. private jobs data and disappointment at Japan's efforts to boost economic growth.

The weakening in the world equity markets is days old as investors have been weighing the ability of major central banks to boost growth and the possibility that stimulus will be reduced in coming months.

In Israel Wednesday, the Real Estate-15 was off 0.9%, and the index of oil and gas shares was down 0.1%. Technology shares lost 0.2%.

The index of biomed shares led the losses, closing down 2%, pulled by Pluristem Therapeutics and Prolor Biotech, which lost 11% and 3.7%, respectively.

Protalix closed down 2.5%, and mineral water company Mei Eden continued its losing streak, dropping 7.7%.

One of the stories of the day was IDB, which is waiting for a crucial hearing on its debt Thursday. IDB Holding's B4 and B5 series bonds gained 5.2% and 4.1%, respectively. When a bond's price increases, it means that investors believe the company is more likely to pay its borrowers what they're owed. Yet both bond series are still trading at prices of around 28 agorot to the shekel – deep in junk territory.

Clal Insurance, the main asset of the IDB group, gained 0.3%. The IDB group, which owes NIS 4 billion to bondholders, is likely to sell part of its holdings in that insurance company. 

On the plus side, Compugen gained 3.3%, and Elco Holdings gained 3%.

Bank Leumi lost 1%. The bank has been cutting its exposure to business-sector credit, selling of NIS 600 million in loans over the past six months.

With reporting by Reuters.

AP