The Ticker / Moody’s Warns Israeli Economic Growth Could Fall Short

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Stock traders in Tel Aviv. Credit: Alon Ron

Israel’s economy may not grow 3% or more this year, throwing into doubt the Finance Ministry’s projections for tax revenue and deficit target, and perhaps imperiling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, Moody’s Investor’s Service said in a comment Monday.

Analysts Kristin Lindow and Joshua Grundfleger said that gross domestic product grew at a 2.6% annualized rate in the first half of the year, and that the latest Bank of Israel inflation surveys signaled a “potential further weakening” of the economy.

“Based on these early challenges and in light of global economic conditions, we expect the current coalition to face significant economic turbulence throughout its tenure,” Moody’s said.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s “quick mobilization of his team is unlikely to lead to concrete measures to support growth, at least over the next several months while the budget is being debated,” Moody’s said. (TheMarker)

Errol Samuels, 22, from Queens, New York, who lost the use of his legs in 2012 after a roof collapsed onto him at a house party, walks with a ReWalk electric powered exoskeletal suit, March 2014. Credit: Reuters

ReWalk founder to retire in November

ReWalk Robotics, the Nasdaq-traded company whose artificial exoskeletons enable people with lower limb paralysis to walk again, said yesterday that its founder and president, Dr. Amit Goffer, would retire on November 18 and will not seek reelection to the company’s board of directors when his term expires this year.

Goffer founded ReWalk in 2001 after an accident in an all-terrain vehicle left him a quadriplegic (Goffer’s injuries are so serious that he himself would not benefit from the ReWalk). He was ReWalk’s CEO until 2012, and has since worked as its chief technology officer.

The company’s second quarter revenues of $610,000 were slightly higher than the same quarter last year, but lower than the first quarter of this year. The Yokne’am-based company didn’t mention anything about who would succeed Goffer in the post. In mid-afternoon trading local time in New York yesterday, shares of ReWalk, which went public just under a year ago, were down 3.6% at $9.27. (TheMarker)

Fox’s Wizel restructures apparel chain in bid to lift profits

Fox-Wizel CEO Harel Wizel said yesterday he planned a reorganization of the apparel retailer, in an effort to improve profitability. Wizel will continue to set strategy for the group and act as the primary contact person for overseas franchisees of Fox-Wizel brands, but Ron Arnon will assume overall responsibility for the company’s retail brands, including Fox, Fox Home, Charles & Keith, The Children’s Place, Mango and American Eagle. Although Fox-Wizel sales have jumped 71% over the past five years, net profits have not risen at the same rate.

The changes are aimed at making operations more efficient and adjust the company to the fast growth it has had in the last few years as it added retail brands. “If we’re going to be big, we have to think big,” Wizel said. Shares of Fox ended down 2.5% at 74.08 shekels ($19.30). (Yoram Gabison)