Business in Brief

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Israeli shekels. (illustrative)Credit: Reuters

Dollar tumbles 1.2% to 3.944

The dollar tumbled against the shekel yesterday, just a day after it neared the 4-shekel level. The U.S. currency weakened 1.2% to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.944 shekels from 3.9991 the day before. “In the range of 3.95 to 4 shekels a battle is raging between dealers going short and long on the currency,” said currency trader FXCM. “A drop below 3.95 is likely to generate momentum and strengthen a correction downward. Against that, a closing above 4 is likely to signal a new move upward.” In late trading, the dollar was at 3.9213. The euro also weakened, shedding 0.4% to a Bank of Israel rate of 4.872. FXCM said positive sentiment toward the dollar was now very strong while the shekel was being weighed down by the uncertainty surrounding elections slated for March 17. (Omri Zerachovitz)

RedHill seeks clearance for major drug

RedHill Biopharma said yesterday that it was seeking British and European approvals for a drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Dubbed Bekinda, the drug addressed a market with worldwide sales of $940 million, RedHill said. “This European marketing application filing for Bekinda brings us closer to offering patients a simple, once-daily oral antiemetic in place of rectal suppositories or multiple oral doses to prevent nausea and vomiting for a full 24 hour period,” said Terry Plasse, the company’s medical director. RedHill said it was also pursuing approvals for Bekinda’s use with inflammations of the gastrointestinal tract, which cause nausea and vomiting – a potential worldwide market it estimated exceeds $650 million. RedHill shares closed up 3.9% to 4.67 shekels ($1.19). (TheMarker Staff)

Central bank to buy $3.1b to offset natgas

The Bank of Israel said yesterday it expects to buy $3.1 billion in foreign currency in 2015 – $400 million less than it is scheduled to buy this year – to offset the effect of natural gas production on the shekel exchange rate. “The Bank of Israel projects that the overall effect of natural gas production on the balance of payments in 2015 will be $3.1 billion and it will purchase foreign currency during 2015 accordingly,” the central bank said in a statement. The bank has been buying forex since 2013 to offset the impact of domestically produced gas from the Tamar field, which has slashed Israel’s energy-imports bill. (TheMarker Staff)

MDG of New York delays Israeli bond sale

MDG, the latest U.S. property developer to tap the Israel capital market for debt, is putting off a sale of bonds by several weeks. Sources said the reason was to better space debt issues by American companies like MDG and not risk oversupply after three U.S. real estate firms raised a combined 1.2 billion shekels ($310 million) in just two weeks. Nevertheless, advisers Rafi Lipa and Gal Amit expect to go ahead with the issue before mid-January when the deadline for selling the bonds based on the existing prospectus expires. MDG, which is controlled by David Marx, operates in New York, owning protected hosing and old-age homes as well as rent-controlled apartments and office space. (Eran Azran)

Global jitters push Tel Aviv shares lower

Tel Aviv shares fell yesterday as world markets swooned on concerns over falling oil prices and Greek political turmoil. The benchmark TA-25 index ended down 0.9% at 1,479.06 points while the TA-100 lost 1.2% to finish at 1,309.67 as 1.35 billion shekels ($340 million) in shares changed hands. Among blue chips, Teva Pharmaceuticals closed down 1.8% at 223.80 shekels and Bezeq lost 4.3% to end at 7.12. PhotoMedex led TA-100 shares lower, falling 9.5% to 6.07 after posting a double-digit rise the day before, Mazor Robotics, however, jumped 8.8% to 26.66 shekel’s after it announced sales for two more of its Renaissance surgical devices. Shapir Engineering started trading on the wrong foot, ending down 4% below its offering price last week. The government’s 10-year Shahar bond climbed 0.40% to reduce its yield to 2.39%. (Omri Zerachovitz)