The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed slightly lower Tuesday, following down European markets stung by profit taking after last month’s rally. Software companies Commtouch and Allot were hit by second-quarter losses.
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The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index eased 0.2% to close at 1,201 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index fell 0.3% to 1,096 points. Biomed shares fell 0.7% and technology shares fell 1%, while the Real Estate-15 gained 0.2% and oil and gas shares gained 0.5%. Total turnover was NIS 972 million, near the average of late.
Europe was particularly hit by declines by financial heavyweights HSBC and Munich Re, and some traders predicted more weakness as investors look to book profits. In Asia, Hong Kong shares suffered their heaviest daily loss in a month.
Back home, the Bank of Israel began sopping up dollars to support the sagging greenback; the dollar closed 0.23% lower at NIS 3.55.
Among stocks, biomedical companies were in focus. The sector has had a volatile week; the index gained 3.8% on Monday with Compugen soaring 40% on high turnover after signing a licensing and cooperation agreement with Bayer HealthCare worth up to $530 million. On Tuesday Compugen lost 2.4%.
Plant genome company Evogene gained 0.7% on successful initial results for a field trial. The company is trying to develop a banana variety resistant to black leaf streak disease, the leading cause of damage to global banana crops.
Allium Medical Solutions, which develops medical equipment for minor invasive surgery, climbed 3% after signing an exclusive eight-year distribution agreement with Beijing King Health. The Chinese company committed to buy at least NIS 58 million in Allium's urological stent products over the next eight years.
Commtouch Software fell 14% after reporting a GAAP net loss of $700,000 for the second quarter, compared with a $1.3 million loss in the first quarter and an $800,000 profit a year earlier. Allot tumbled 8.7%. The company, which develops telephony software, lost $900,000 in the second quarter non-GAAP - after deducting non-ongoing expenses.
Holding company BGI rose 3% after announcing that it was negotiating with Emblaze shareholders in an attempt to gain a significant stake in the Israeli high-tech company, which trades in London. BGI is controlled indirectly by charity fund Chabad 770, which is owned by Ukrainian-Jewish businessman Alexander Granovsky.
Metal importer Scope dropped 4.9% after Ishay Davidi's FIMI fund sold another NIS 37 million worth of shares, reducing its stake to 13.4% from 21.4%.
The Delek Group once again improved its buyout offer for publicly held shares of subsidiary Delek Energy. Delek Energy climbed 4%, while the Delek Group gained 1.4%.
With reporting by Reuters.