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The Delek-owned Leviathan offshore natural gas field.Credit: Courtesy Albatross

Delek sells $276m of shares in U.S. unit
Delek Group sold another big block of shares in its Delek USA unit overnight Wednesday, raising 954 million shekels ($276 million). A group of institutional investors bought the 15.5% stake through a consortium led by Barclays Bank at $30 a share, below the stock’s $31.10 close on Wednesday. Delek USA was down 3.9% at $29.88 at noon local time in New York. The latest sale leaves Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group with just 9.8% of the U.S. refiner and filling station operator, which it plans to divest as well. Delek is assembling a cash stockpile to help finance development of the giant Leviathan natural gas field offshore Israel. Shares of Delek Group rose 0.3% to finish at 1,480 shekels in Tel Aviv. (Michael Rochvarger)

Mizrahi Tefahot first-quarter net drops 6%
Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, the first of Israel’s big banks to report quarterly earnings, said on Thursday that its first-quarter net profit dropped 6% to 264 million shekels ($76.4 million) as lower interest rates cut into its financing income. Financing income before credit losses fell 4.9% to 794 million shekels, but the bank reported a gain in its provision for credit losses of 5 million shekels, turning around from a charge of 34 million. Operating and other expenses grew 1.4%. Against a backdrop of a decline in demand for credit in the corporate sector, the bank is acting to significantly expand its activities in the small and medium size business sector,” CEO Eldad Fresher said. Mizrahi shares finished up 0.3% at 47.12 shekels in Tel Aviv. (Sivan Aizescu)

TowerJazz reports first profit since 2011
TowerJazz reported its first quarterly net profit in 2-1/2 years due to a one-time gain from its joint venture in Japan with Panasonic. The maker of semiconductors turned in a net profit of $39 million for the first three months of the year, compared with a loss of $23 million a year earlier after it reported a $150 million gain from the value assigned to its stake in TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Company. It also recorded a $71 million charge for closing its plant in Nishiwaki, Japan. Excluding one-time items, net profit jumped, tripling from a year earlier to $19.5 million while revenue grew 18% to $132.7 million. TowerrJazz ended up 1.8% at 30.30 shekels ($8.77) in Tel Aviv. (Reuters)

Tel Aviv finishes lower on Wall Street decline
Prompted by a bearish start for Wall Street on Thursday, the TA-25 index took a sharp turn lower at the end of its trading day. That left the benchmark index down 0.4% at 1,378.27 points while the TA-100 lost 0.6% to a close of 1,245.51, all on turnover of 1.24 billion shekels ($360 million). TA-25 was down 0.1% for the past two weeks, though it is still up 3.7% for the year. Volume leader Teva Pharmaceuticals dropped 1% to 173 shekels after it lost a bid to block approval of a generic form of its best-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone 10 days before the patent on the medication expires. By contrast, the fixed-income market rallied. The government’s 10-year shekel bond jumped 0.42% to push its yield down to 3.1% while its inflation-linked bond due in 2023 advanced 0.36% to cut the yields to 0.91%. (Shelly Appelberg)

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