The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished a volatile trading day with minor losses Wednesday. Trading took place against the background of an announcement by the Bank of Israel that it intends to buy $4.5 billion next year in order to offset the effect of natural gas sales on the shekel, as well as amid international expectations that the U.S. government shutdown would be heading into its second day.
The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index closed down 0.2% at 1,272 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 index lost 0.2% to close at 1,149 points. The Banks-5 was down 0.1%, while the Real Estate-15 dropped 0.6%, pulled downward by the Azrieli Group, which was off 2%.
Total turnover was a healthy NIS 1.395 billion.
In Europe, stocks fell on Wednesday as the U.S. government shutdown continued to rattle investors, although Italian shares rose after Prime Minister Enrico Letta survived a confidence vote. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei average suffered the biggest one-day loss in six weeks, while Hong Kong shares rebounded off a three-week low on Wednesday, led by Partner controlling shareholder Hutchison Whampoa, which closed at its highest point in nearly six years.
Notable shares included Allot Communication, which was up 10% on the news that a major U.S. customer had ordered several millions of dollars in cloud computing services. Plasson Industries gained 3.9%.
Pluristem received Health Ministry approval to run a clinical experiment in Israel, the company said yesterday. The stage 2 clinical testing of its drug to treat IC will be part of the company’s first clinical testing center in Israel. The company’s share gained 1%.
Allium Medical shot up 10.4% after announcing that it had received a U.S. patent for its WIRION distal embolic protection system for preventing blood clots.
Meanwhile, a consortium led by Neil Bush, the brother of former U.S. president George W. Bush, is interested in buying a controlling stake in IDB Holdings. Bush was in Israel Wednesday to further the deal. IDB’s share was up 2.5% Wednesday.
Opko Health, which is scheduled to join the TA-100, gained 5.25%, apparently because index funds were buying the share.
Translation software company Babylon dropped 3.3%, and Delek Automobile dropped 2.7%.
With reporting by Reuters.