Market Report / Potash Turmoil Sends Israel Chemicals and Tel Aviv Exchange Lower

But most stocks in the blue-chip index gain in unusually high turnover

Nadan Feldman
Ronit Domke
Sivan Feingold
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Tel Aviv's leading index was dragged down by Israel Chemicals and its parent company Tuesday as upheaval in the international potash industry slammed potash miners worldwide. ICL and its parent Israel Corporation plunged 18% and 20%, respectively, after a Russian company quit a potash cartel.

The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index fell 1.7% to 1,203 points. Of the drop, ICL contributed 1.53%, since it accounts for 8.6% of the index. Israel Corp. contributed another 0.52%, since it accounts for 2.6% of the index. Teva, which fell 2%, pulled the index down 0.3%. It accounts for 10.1%. Most other stocks in the index actually gained ground in unusually high turnover.

The broader Tel Aviv-100 Index dropped 1.3% to close at 1,093 points, the Banks-5 closed virtually unchanged, and the Real Estate-15 gained 1%. The index of communications shares closed 1.6% higher, while oil and gas shares gained 1.5%. Total turnover was a high NIS 2.1 billion.

In Europe, shares ended slightly higher, buoyed by upbeat earnings.

Back in Israel, Lev Leviev's Africa Israel lost 3.7% after falling victim to a massive diamond heist in France that seized world headlines Sunday. Drug maker Perrigo fell 1.1% Tuesday, a day after it tumbled 4.3% on news it was buying Irish drugmaker Elan.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries fell 2% after a Goldman Sachs analyst said the share price couldn't go any higher. Translation software company Babylon gained 2%, a day after it surged 6% on a solid earnings report.

An Israel Chemicals potash producing plant at the Dead Sea.Credit: Ofer Vaknin