Teva Bucked Trend on Wilting TASE as Investors Took Profit

Brand shot up 30% on Intel contract, Walla surged 5.5% on upbeat Harel analysis

Profit taking lowered Israeli stocks for a third consecutive session, after the indexes reached record heights on Wednesday last week. Blue chips fell about half a percent Monday, after retreating one percent on Sunday. Banks and real estate stocks did even worse, with their representative indexes losing more than a percent.

The day opened with mild losses that worsened as trade continued. Finally the TA-25 index lost 0.6% to 832.8 points, the TA-100 index dropped 0.8% to 851.3 points but the TelTech-15 index beat the trend with an 0.2% gain. Turnover was heavier than usual at NIS 1.4 billion.

Bonds went nowhere particular: long-term Shahars lost 0.1% and linked Galils ended unchanged.

Eyes were on <a target="_blank" href="">Teva</a> (TASE, Nasdaq:<a target="_blank" href="">TEVA</a>) as it rightfully regained its title of the world's biggest generic drugs company, upon closing the acquisition of Ivax Corp. Its stock rose half a percent, despite starting with a 2% leap north, as analysts weighed in.  Credit Suisse raised its 12-month price target to $53 after it closed the deal buying Ivax.

Teva also disclosed that sales of Copaxone soared 26% in 2005 to $1.18 billion in 2005. Fourth-quarter sales of the drug, used to treat \relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, reached $323 million, the company said.
Nor was that all: as may befit a company as big as Teva, there was more news. It also received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its $200 million a year hormone replacement tablet Desmopressin Acetate, over which it is involved in patent litigation in Delaware.

Walla surged 5.5% on relatively hefty turnover, for it, of two million shekels, after Harel released a Buy recommendation for the stock and suggested it had a 30% upside.

The banks index sank 1.8% as Hapoalim lost 2.1% on huge turnover of NIS 163 million, and Leumi sank 2.4%, also on respectably gargantuan volume of NIS 107 million. In two days Bank Hapoalim has lost almost 5% of its value, and Bank Leumi about 4%. Mizrahi sank 0.4% and Bank Discount clawed back to gain 0.4%.

Insurance also took a beating. Migdal dropped by 2.5%, Harel Investments dropped 1.1% and Clal Insurance lost 0.2%.

Investors also took profit from real estate, which had been powering ahead through much of January. The Real Estate-15 index has lost 5% in two days. One company to beat the blah was Gazit Globe, which revealed ambitious plans to invest $1.5 billion in European real estate, and that's without touching its plans to invest enormously in North American properties as well. The management is also mulling investment in Asia, an area still untouched by that company at least.

Azorim lost 2.7% and Jerusalem Economic Corporation fell 3.6%.

Still in real estate, Ocif stood out with a 1.8% dive on heavy turnover of NIS 11 million. From January 1 its stock has risen 26%.

In the broad market, metal works company Brand Industries leaped 30% after revealing that a contract to build the steel shell for an Intel building in Kiryat Gat should roughly double its 2006 revenues.

While on building, soy products Solbar Industries has some to do in order to restore profitability. The company said today that it will be firing 20% of its staff and paring spending to the bone. Its stock rose 6.1%, perhaps some comfort to investors who've had to watch it lose 66% of its value since its initial public offering.