Bank of Israel intervenes as dollar falls to six-month low
The Bank of Israel intervened in the local foreign currency market yesterday, buying an estimated $50 million to $100 million worth of dollars as the U.S. currency sunk to its lowest against the shekel since last November. The buying helped lift the dollar from a low for the day of 3.8295, to strengthen 0.05% for the day to a Bank of Israel rate of 3.8640. IN late trading the dollar reached 3.862. The euro gained close to 1% on the shekel to 4.2988, reaching 4.3177 in late trading. Currency trader FXCM said the dollar sunk to a six-month low against the shekel as the greenback loses ground to the euro. “The euro has shown significant strength in the last two days amid optimism that Greece and its creditors are close to a new agreement,” FXCM said. It said that for at least the short term, the euro’s strength would have the effect of weakening the dollar against the shekel.
Perrigo buys European drug portfolio from Glaxo
Perrigo, the U.S. drug maker Mylan wants to buy, said late Tuesday it acquired several European over-the-counter brands that generated $110 million in sales last year from GlaxoSmithKline for an undisclosed price. Perrigo has been seeking to boost international sales since it moved its headquarters to Ireland and bought Belgium’s Omega Pharm last year. CEO Joseph Papa, who is resisting the Mylan offer, told The Wall Street Journal that the portfolio of drugs would boost the company’s non-U.S. sales to 55% from just 20% before the Omega acquisition. “We are building on the global platform we established with the Omega Pharma acquisition to capture an even greater share of the $30 billion European OTC market opportunity,” Papa said in a statement. Perrigo shares, which are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, edged up 0.08% to 740.50 shekels ($192.64). (TheMarker)
Clal Biotech skids after Novartis pulls out of Gamida Cell deal
Shares of Clal Biotechnology plunged yesterday after the biomed holding company said that the drug giant Novartis was pulling out of a deal that could have been worth close to $640 million to buy its Gamida Cell affiliate. The Swiss company said that while it would not by Gamida Cell, which is 19%-owned by Clal, it wanted to continue collaboration to develop products. Novartis bought a 15% stake in Gamida Cell last August for $35 million, together with an option to buy the rest of the company by June 2016 for $165 million, with the possibility of future payments of up to $435 million if it met all the milestones for drug development and regulatory approvals. Clal Biotechnology said Gamida Cell, a developer of stem cell therapy technologies, had met all its milestones until now. Clal Biotechnology shares closed down 11.8% at 3.96 shekels ($1.03). Elbit Medical, which owns 26% of Gamia Cell, dropped 22.7% to 11 agorot. (Yoram Gabison)
Bonds extend sharp losses as shares gain
Tel Aviv shares posted another day of gains yesterday, but bond prices fell sharply as U.S. debt yields jumped. The benchmark TA-25 index gained 0.7% to finish at 1,704.92 points, while the TA-100 rose 0.5% to 1,473.03, on light turnover of just over 1 billion shekels ($260 million). The Tel-Bond 20, 40 and 60 indices dropped 0.6-0.8%, while the government’s Shahar bond due in 2025 tumbled 1.08% to raise its yield to 2.28%. The Shahar due in 2042 fell 1.71% to a yield of 3.3%, marking a 14% drop over the past month-and-half. In share trading, Azrieli Group fell 2.5% to 159.30 shekels, marking a fifth day out of six that it posted sharp declines. Nice Systems soared 5.4% to 256.40 shekels after JP Morgan analyst Paul Coster upgraded the stock to Overweight from Neutral while raising his price target to $72 from $68. Most sectors were lower for the day, but biomed and tech stocks did very well, with Protalix leading the TA-100 on a 5.8% rise to 7.96 shekels. Mizrahi Tefahot Bank said institutions ordered some 1.8 billion shekels of bonds in a pre-sale prior to a planned public offering. (Eran Azran)