Trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was off to a mixed start on Monday but ultimately ended in declines overall.
The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index slumped 0.5% to 1,218.47 points, while the Tel Aviv-100 lost 0.4%, ending the day at 1,086.86.
Trading volume was NIS 796 million.
Declines were led by the Oil and Gas index, which lost 0.7%. The Real Estate-15 index dropped by a smidgen, 0.01%, and the Banks-5 index was off 0.2%.
The Babylon software translation company declined 7.2% on turnover of more than NIS 60 million in shares, following the firm's release of its latest financial results. Babylon reported that its 2012 revenues grew 207% to NIS 685 million. The company's net profit for the year was NIS 103 million, 263% higher than in 2011.
Company CEO Alon Carmeli said his company was starting 2013 with NIS 90 million in the kitty and more than NIS 150 million in revenue that has not yet been recognized from existing users.
Investor concern appeared to center on the company's future profits.
Babylon, the most heavily traded share of the day, was followed by Bezeq, which dropped 1.7% against the backdrop of a weaker recommendation by Clal Finance.
Despite reports of the possible need by Bank Leumi to write down NIS 2 billion [see page 8], shares of the stock rose yesterday by 0.4%. Bank Hapoalim stock declined by 0.8%.
Yitzhak Tshuva's Delek Group, which is involved in real estate, energy and insurance, said yesterday that it was examining the sale of all or part of its European unit. It issued a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange announcing that third parties could submit bids to buy Delek Europe BV, and that Delek would consider possible negotiations with some or all of them - though it noted it was not certain bids would be accepted. Delek Group's shares declined by 0.6% in trading yesterday.
Real estate firm Gazit Globe reported on Sunday that Mawer Investment Management, a Canadian company, had increased its stake in the Israeli firm to 5.33% after buying 40,000 shares for NIS 1.7 million. Gazit shares rose by 0.8% yesterday.
Tower Semiconductor, whose shares gained 0.6% for the day, released a shelf prospectus yesterday for plans to raise additional capital through its existing bond series, warrants, and the issuance of new shares of stock.
Nochi Dankner's IDB group's shares traded against the backdrop of news that representatives of IDB Development bondholders had rejected a proposal by IDB Holding representatives to cooperate in shaping the group's future. IDB Holding shares traded down 1.8% yesterday.
Overseas, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi sought to cool the debate over currency wars yesterday, but said the ECB would still have to assess the economic impact of the euro's strength. The euro hit a 15-month high against the dollar earlier this month, complicating the ECB's policy-making tasks by weighing on growth and feeding expectations that it may have to take fresh policy action, which some ECB members oppose.
The euro gained 0.7% against the shekel yesterday. The representative rate was set at NIS 4.913.
The U.S. dollar declined by 0.16% to a representative rate of NIS 3.678.
While Draghi said he expected a very gradual recovery in the euro zone later this year, he noted that the euro's exchange rate was important for growth and inflation, and that it could threaten to pull down inflation too far.
"We will have to assess in the coming projections whether the exchange rate has had an impact on our inflationary profile, because it's always through price stability that we address issues like that," he told European lawmakers in Brussels.
With reporting by Reuters.