Consumers feeling blue: The Bank Hapoalim Consumer Confidence Index has slid to a 2-year low, dropping 0.8% in September from the previous month to 124.6 points. Hapoalim's economists suspect the bugbear is fear of firing (technically, the public's perception of the state of unemployment in six months' time boils down to fear). Another reason for the cracking confidence is rising prices of consumer goods from gasoline to rice; and then there's always the Iranian nuclear program, hardly the ticket to alleviate jitters.
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IDB group bond prices jump on takeover moves: Prices of IDB group bonds jumped on Wednesday by as much as 22% on reports that York Capital bought up as much as NIS 400 million worth of IDB Development Corp bonds in the last four months. York now owns 20% of IDB Development Corp's bonds, making it the biggest holder of that company's bond debt. IDB Development Corp owes bondholders NIS 4.4 billion and owes banks and other financial institutions another NIS 2.1 billion. Note that despite the Wednesday leap, IDB Development Corp bonds are still deep in junk territory, with yields as high as 130% (as of the Wednesday closing).
Teva upbeat about Copaxone tests: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on Wednesday reported upside results from its Phase III clinical trials of administering Copaxone three times a week, at a dose of 40 milligrams per milliliter, in alleviating symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Phase III trials test efficacy and safety as well. Teva says its drug significantly reduced the relapse rate of MS patients by more than 34% compared with a placebo. The trial was carried out on a group of 1,400 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, an incurable neuro-degenerative condition.
Discount Bank sues to dissolve Kaman Capital: Discount Bank sued on Wednesday to have a receiver appointed to Kaman Capital, a financing company listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The company is controlled by Roni Elroy, son-in-law of property and energy baron Yitzhak Tshuva. The bank wants the court to let it exercise its attachment to 80% of Kaman Capital's stock, which is securing the NIS 64 million the company owes Discount. Meanwhile, Kaman Capital shares have lost 71% of their value this year.
Psagot jacks up Tamar value: Noam Pincu, analyst at the Psagot brokerage, now estimates the value of the Tamar gas field at about $10 billion before tax, which is 17% upside from his previous estimate issued in February. While about it, Pincu repeated Hold ratings for the gas exploration partnerships Delek Drilling, Ratio Oil Exploration and Isramco. Avner was downgraded from Buy to Hold based on the bounce by the gas exploration shares of late.
With reporting by Vadim Sviderski and Michael Rochvarger