Business in Brief

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Tel Aviv tumbles in wake of Wall Street wipeout

Shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange tumbled on Sunday, echoing a sell-off on Wall Street Friday, where the Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended its worst week since June 2012. The TA-25 index dropped 1.5% by the end of trading, to 1,302.37 points. Total turnover was 739.2 million shekels ($211.8 million). The TA-100 index dropped 1.7%, falling below 1,200 to close at 1,199.12 points. Only three shares in the TA-100 index ended higher for the day. The biggest hit was in technology stocks: The TA Blue-Tech 50 index closed down 2.8%, at 562,42 points. Biotech shares were bloodied, with PhotoMedex plunging 6.6% at 48.36 shekels, Clal Biotechnology down 6.5% at 8.62 shekels, Mazor Robotics off 5.5% at 40.65 shekels and Kamada off 5.1% at 55.19 shekels. “The correction everyone has been waiting for has begun,” said Erez Zadok of Aviv Fund Management. (Dror Reich)

Teva shares weather EU decision on MS drug

Investors in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries largely shrugged off a negative opinion from the European Medicines Agency on its multiple sclerosis drug Laquinimod, in the belief that it will be reformulated. An EMA committee on Friday said it had concerns about animal studies showing a higher occurrence of cancers after long-term exposure to the treatment. A similar long-term cancer risk could not be excluded in humans, it said. The panel’s worries sent shares of Teva’s partner, Sweden’s Active Biotech, down 46% while Teva’s Tel Aviv-listed shares closed down 2.5%, at 149.50 shekels ($42.84) Sunday. “Teva was negatively affected but not significantly because the market doesn’t believe Laquinimod would contribute to Teva’s financial results in the next few years,” Leader Capital Markets analyst Sabina Levy said. (Reuters)

Leviathan finally designated a gas ‘discovery’

More than three years after it was discovered, the giant Leviathan natural gas field was formally recognized as a “gas discovery” by Israel’s Energy and Water Resource Ministry, the field’s three Israeli’s partners told the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday. The designation means they will soon gain formal possession of the offshore field in return for committing to develop it according to a timetable. Leviathan has estimated reserves of 19 trillion cubic feet of gas, making it by far Israel’s biggest, and may also contain 1.5 billion barrels of oil. The discovery designation had hinged on the government’s establishing an export policy for gas, which it finally did last October, and ruling on antitrust issues. Delek Drilling fell 0.8% to 18.21 shekels, Avner dropped 0.8% to 3.19 shekels and Ratio ended down 1.8% at 48 agorot. (Eran Azran)

Perrigo gets U.S. approval for diabetes drug

Perrigo, the Israeli-U.S company that is the world’s biggest maker of generic over-the-counter drugs, said on Friday it had received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Repaglinide tablets, the generic equivalent to Prandin tablets used to control Type2 diabetes and had begun shipments. Prandin has had annual sales of approximately $250 million, the company said. Shares of Perrigo edged down 0.3% yesterday to 536.70 shekels (TheMarker) 

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. On the first day of 2014, the TASE was virtually alone among major world stock markets trading.Credit: Bloomberg