Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Shares Close Sharply Higher Despite Trade-war Worries

Business in Brief: Resuming trading after a long holiday weekend, shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange fared well despite expectations of a down-turn

 An electronic board displaying market data is seen at the entrance of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, in Tel Aviv, Israel January 29, 2017
Reuters

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange shares shrugged off worries about a global trade war and a Wall Street sell-off over the weekend to close sharply higher on Sunday. Resuming trading after a long holiday weekend, the benchmark TA-35 index closed up 1.8% at 1,416.93 points, while the TA-125 gained 1.6% to 1,290.90, on relatively heavy trading of 741 million shekels ($209.6 million). All but three shares on the TA-35 ended higher. Bank stocks paced the gains, with Hapoalim and First International both finishing 2% higher at 23.93 and 71.72 shekels, respectively. Insurance shares were the only sector to end lower as Harel slumped 2% to 25.47. Modiin dropped 8.35% to 7.10 after reporting that its $1 million Mountain View oil well came up dry. Cannabis shares continued to provide investors a lot of action: Together soared 61.5% to close at 8.40 after a double-digit drop last week while Medivie added 42.5% to finish at 61.07. (Guy Erez)

TASE to advise new Kazakhstan bourse on cybersecurity

In a first for the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the bourse will advise the Kazakhstan’s new stock market on cybersecurity issues as it seeks to expand its revenue streams. The TASE said on Sunday it signed a contract with the Astana International Financial Center, where the Astana International Exchange, or AIX, will be based, in a deal sources said was worth hundreds of thousands of shekels. The contracts for the TASE to assess AIX’s needs and design a cybersecurity strategy, help choose suppliers and monitor the project to completion. “In line with our strategic plan, we are continuing to develop new activities to widen our income sources, with an emphasis on international collaboration in using the Israeli bourse’s unique professional knowledge and experience,” said TASE CEO Ittai Ben-Zeev. The TASE has relied on trading free collected from members as its chief source of income, but those have declined as trading volumes have decline in the recent years. (Assa Sasson)

Defying the odds, Shapir and Gulliver seeking license to drill for oil in Israel

After hundreds of drillings in Israel, only two oil finds have proven to be commercially exploitable, but a partnership between Shapir Engineering and Gulliver Energy isn’t giving up a hope. The two companies said on Sunday they had applied for an oil-exploration license somewhere in southern Israel. “When the time comes everything will be revealed. Right now we don’t want to specify what area it is for all kinds of reasons,” geologist Yossi Langotsky told TheMarker. Shapir, an infrastructure builder, and energy company Gulliver have an agreement to split exploration costs evenly and have taken on Langotsky, a veteran of the Israeli oil industry, as the in-house expert and project manager. Langotsky said that after three dry wells that cost their backers $700 million in recent years, many companies have dropped out or moved operations the U.S. “While we lowered our profile, we’re still here,” he said. Shapir shares ended up 5.9% at 11.19 shekels ($3.17). (Eran Azran)

Fattal in preliminary agreement to buy 13 hotels in The Netherlands

Fattal, the hotel company that went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange  in February, said on Sunday it had signed a preliminary agreement with an unnamed seller to buy 13 hotels in the Netherlands for 160 million euros ($197 million). Fattal has exclusive rights until May 29 to conduct due diligence and negotiate a final deal. If the deal goes through it will mark a major expansion for the chain in The Netherlands, where it operates one 100-room property and is constructing a 490-room, four-star hotel in Amsterdam at a cost of 52.3 million euros that will the city’s second largest when it is completed in November. In Israel, Fattal agreed three weeks ago to buy two hotels it operates in Israel from their owner, Yitzhak Tshuva, in Be’er Sheva and Haifa for 230 million shekels ($65.1 million). Shares of Fattal, which operates 171 hotels in Israel and Europe, finished 1.4% higher at 370.80 shekels. (Eran Azran)