The Ticker: Real Estate Prices Rising Due to anti-Semitism, Says TLV Stock Exchange CEO

Orad rases NIS 29 million for solar power stations; Bank Leumi to market its online technology in U.S.; Tel Aviv Stock Exchange leading indicators nearly unchanged

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange chairman and CEOs in March, 2017.
Guy Assig

TASE CEO: Real estate prices rising due to anti-Semitism, Diaspora Jews’ investments

The CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Ittai Ben-Zeev, told a Price Waterhouse Coopers conference on Tuesday that the rise in real estate prices in Israel has been fueled in part by anti-Semitism abroad and Diaspora Jews’ investment in the local real estate market. Ben-Zeev was speaking about the factors that have caused investments to be diverted to real estate from the capital markets. “Regulation, tax increases on the exchange and several other trends, some of them global, have motivated investors to divert investments from the capital markets to real estate,” he said, recounting that he is often asked why real estate prices in Israel have risen to such a great extent. “One [explanation] is anti-Semitism in the world and Jewish funds that have come into the State of Israel. The second is the low interest that has brought about cheap mortgages,” he said. (Eran Azran) 
After share price drop, Delek Group to buy up to NIS 100 million of its own stock. 

Following the 15% fall in the share price of the Delek Group over the past three months, the company is projecting a message of confidence to investors, reporting on Tuesday that it would buy up to 100 million shekels ($28.6 million) of its own stock by the end of the year. The news sent the company’s share price, which had been falling in Tuesday trading, into positive territory, but it nevertheless closed off 1.27% at 606.20 shekels. Such buybacks by companies that issued the shares, using cash on hand, is common practice in the United States. It generally increases demand for a stock and tends to prop up its price in the process. In the past several years, Delek has bought back about 300 million shekels worth of its own stock. (Eran Azran)

Orad raises NIS 29 million in private share issue for solar power stations 

Orad, the Holon-based technology and defense industries firm, has raised 29 million shekels ($8.3 million) from institutional investors and hedge funds in a private stock issue at a share price of 2.12 shekels, 7% lower than the price of Orad’s stock at the opening of trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Nevertheless, Orad’s share price continued to climb during the day, closing at 2.33 shekels, up 2.19%. The company is active in a number of industries, among them the field of photovoltaic solar systems through its subsidiary SolarPower. Orad purchased SolarPower two years ago for 4 million shekels. The funds that the company has just raised will be used in part to build solar power stations in the Negev for the firm Shikun & Binui. Orad shares had fallen 15% over past year and prior to today’s rise had been trading at 24% less than its share price at the beginning of June. Although its second-quarter revenues doubled, that did not result in an improvement on the profit side. (Omri Zerachovitz)

Bank Leumi in cooperation agreement to market its Pepper online banking technology

Bank Leumi announced on Tuesday that it has signed a cooperation agreement with the Swiss software firm Temenos and the cloud computing firm VMware, a California-based subsidiary of Dell Technologies, to market technology that the Leumi group is using for its Pepper online bank brand to customers abroad. The Pepper banking platform is based on Temenos’ core system and will be applied to the VMware cloud infrastructure. Leumi’s CEO, Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, announced the new partnership at the Money20/20 fintech convention, which was held this week in Las Vegas. Leumi has invested about 300 million shekels ($85.7 million) into Pepper, which was launched in June and has attracted about 10,000 customer accounts at this point, reaching a peak pace for new accounts last month.  Pepper’s app has been downloaded at least 100,000 times. A separate PepperPay payment app does not require opening an account at the online bank. (Michael Rochvarger)

TASE leading indicators nearly unchanged

The benchmark Tel Aviv 35 index was up a mere 0.08% on Tuesday, closing at 1,441.73 points. The broader Tel Aviv 125 index slipped 0.05% to 1,331.58. Trading volume was 1.103 billion shekels ($315 million). The Real Estate index showed the steepest loss, falling 0.78% to 549.57 points. Among stocks of note, the Delek Group saw its share price fall 1.27% to 606.20 shekels on huge trading volume of 48.8 million shekels. (See related story above). Delek Energy Systems shares dropped 5.31% to 1,410 shekels. That came a day after the company announced that it was considering delisting Delek Drilling in a restructuring plan. Shares of the biopharmaceutical firm MannKind plummeted 13.59% to 12.02 shekels.  On the foreign currency front, the dollar and the euro both gained ground against the shekel. The representative rate of the dollar was set at 3.501, up 0.29%, and that of the euro at 4.116, a gain of 0.37%. Sterling’s value was set at 4.609, up 0.24%. (Uri Tomer)