Market Report / Eran Azran

Mild Losses in Tel Aviv as European Stocks Keep on Climbing

Second day of big losses for translation company Babylon, on news of agreement problems with its U.S. partner Yahoo.

Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange eased downward yesterday, with nearly all of the leading indexes closing with mild losses, as investors around the world waited for news regarding the U.S. Federal Bank’s incentive program, unsure which way the American economy would turn.

The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index and the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index both closed down 0.12%, at 1,304 points and 1,177 points respectively. The Real Estate-15 lost 0.2% while the Banks-5 bucked the general trend to gain 0.2%. Total turnover was NIS 1.1 billion, which is about average as of late.

Israeli shares lost value even as European indexes brushed multi-year highs, amid reassuring earnings updates from key companies. One of these indexes was the pan-European FTSEuroFirst, which closed at a five-year high. While some traders felt European equity markets could ease back in the next two to three weeks, as investors look to cash in on the recent advance, the majority were forecasting a broad rally into the end of 2013. Shares in Japan and Hong Kong also gained ground.

Translation software company Babylon dropped 7.4%, putting it down 15% for the past two days. The company stated Monday that Internet giant Yahoo, which is partnered with Babylon, checked and found shortcomings in how Babylon is implementing the agreement between the two. Yahoo stated that it considers these shortcomings a violation of the companies’ agreement.

Gilat Satellite Networks gained 1.4%. The company intends to lay off dozens of workers out of its 1,200-person workforce around the world. Some 500 of its workers are in Israel. Half of the layoffs will be in Israel.

Silicom gained 15.7% after the company published its financial reports for the third quarter, revealing profits of $4 million – 55% more than in the parallel quarter of 2012.

NTS shot up 24% after announcing that it had been acquired by a U.S. private equity fund via a merger. The merger is being carried out at a 25% premium over the company’s market cap as of yesterday morning.

Opko Health, up 35% for the month, dropped 4.6% yesterday. The share joined the Tel Aviv-25 only last month. Evogene, up 17% for the last month, dropped 3% yesterday.

With reporting by Reuters.

Haaretz