The Ticker: Tel Aviv Shares Shaken by Concerns Over New FBI Probe of Clinton Emails

Names of two long-shot candidates for TASE CEO position leaked to media; Dankner pleads for mercy in sentencing; Mellanox beats forecast for earnings but signals a weak fourth quarter.

A large digital ticker shows financial information to pedestrians outside the entrance to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.
Rina Castelnuovo, Bloomberg

Tel Aviv shares shaken by concerns over new FBI probe of Clinton emails

Tel Aviv shares took a tumble yesterday in the wake of Wall Street’s move lower on Friday amid concerns about the new FBI probe against Hillary Clinton. The blue-chip TA-25 index ended down 1.2% to 1,406.49 points, while the TA-100 lost 1.4% to 1,233.54, in light trading of 504 million shekels ($130.9 million). McKesson Corporation, one of the largest medical distributors in the United States, sharply cut its profit outlook late on Thursday, citing competition and the decelerating rise in drug prices. Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries dropped 2.3% to 161.80 shekels and Perrigo lost 4.8% to 332.20. Opko Health, however, gained 2.8% to 36.46 after it said it was entering the veterinary generics market. Israel Chemicals fell 2.8% to 13.60 after Standard & Poor’s lowered its international credit rating to BBB- minus. Arko rose 6.8% to 1.26 shekels after it said that together with a partner it sold a 7.5% stake in their GPM gas-station joint venture in the United States. (Shelly Appelberg)

Names of two long-shot candidates for TASE CEO position leaked to media

The names of two candidates for CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange began circulating after its board met on Thursday to discuss the matter for the first time, but both appear to be long shots. Itai Ben-Zeev is head of the capital markets division at Bank Leumi and a TASE director. But earlier leaks saying he supported a move by the board to oust TASE Chairman Amnon Neubach do not bode well for his chances. The second person named, Excellence Investments CEO Uzi Danino, turned down the position in the past and sources say he is unlikely to change his mind. The TASE declined to either confirm or deny the reports. The TASE board wants to find a new CEO as quickly as possible. Yossi Beinart formally stepped down this month after taking a leave of absence due to illness in June. (Shelly Appelberg)

Dankner pleads for mercy in sentencing 

Nochi Danker, the former controlling shareholder of the IDB group and one of Israel’s most powerful businessmen in the past, made an emotional plea for mercy yesterday from Tel Aviv District Court Judge Khaled Kabub in deciding his sentence for his July conviction on charges of manipulating shares. “The court’s verdict has been a terrible shock for me and my family,” Dankner said on the witness stand. “I ask you to place in the balance the good things I’ve done all my life. Permit me to request your compassion and for you to find a way to mitigate the punishment.” But prosecutor Hannah Korin asked the court to sentence Dankner to the maximum allowed by law for the offense, three to five years in prison. She said Itay Strum, who was also convicted in the case, should get from 2.5 years to 4.5 years in prison. “You cannot overstate the damage that was caused to the capital market and the economy. The damage to the credibility of the capital market is quite extraordinary in this case,” Korin said. (Jasmin Gueta)

Mellanox beats forecast for earnings but signals a weak fourth quarter

Shares of Mellanox reported third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts, but offered up a disappointing outlook for the fourth quarter. The company, whose InfiniBand hardware is used in high-performance computing networks, said late Thursday that adjusted net income reached $46.2 million, or 93 cents a share, in the third quarter, up from $36.3 million, or 75 cents, a year ago. That put Mellanox earnings 1 cent ahead of the average forecast of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. Revenues climbed more than 30% to $224.2 million, which was in line with Wall Street forecasts. However, for the current quarter, Mellanox said it expected revenue in the range of $222 million to $228 million, well below average analysts’ forecasts for $233.5 million. The weak outlook caused Mellanox shares to sink in after-hours trading Thursday, but they recovered on Friday to show to close at $43.10 a 1.4% gain. (Uri Tomer)

Cellcom says antitrust auhority approves shared network with Xfone

Cellcom Israel shares rallied yesterday after it reported that the Antitrust Authority had approved its network sharing and hosting agreement with Marathon 018 Xfone. The country’s biggest cellphone carrier said the 10-year agreement with Xfone, which was awarded a fourth-generation technology frequency in a government tender last year but hasn’t yet entered the mobile market, calls for the two companies to cooperate in development of a shared 4G network. It follows Cellcom’s failed bid earlier this year to acquire rival Golan Telecom, which was blocked by Israel’s telecoms regulator. The agreement with Xfone, originally announced in July, still requires approval of the Communications Ministry. Cellcom shares ended up 1.9% at 28.98 shekels ($7.53).  The company said in a separate announcement that the number of subscribers to its recently launched TV services had reached 100,000, up from what it said was about 87,000 at the end of the second quarter, June 30. (TheMarker Staff)