Market Report / Israeli Stocks Gain Against World Trend

Tel Aviv shares gained ground yesterday, bucking the trend in world markets. While share prices retreated throughout Europe and Asia, with the exception of Tokyo, Israeli equities bounced up − but on paper-thin turnover, which does not a trend make.

While the world had been enthusiastic in its reception of the news that arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden had been killed, the markets reacted with a small spike, no more, that vanished by the closing bell. By yesterday the name of the game was fundamentals.

European shares sank to a two-week closing low yesterday, hit by weak U.S. economic data, concern over China’s growth outlook and forecast-lagging earnings. The retreat was not peanuts: UK shares fell 1.5%, German shares dropped 1.7%, and Scandinavian stocks finished more than 2% lower.

Over in Asia, most exchanges were down by more than 2% as of press time.

Back home, Israel Chemicals remained in the spotlight, gaining 0.7% on the day’s heaviest turnover, a rather small NIS 101 million. The potash producer is trying to influence the privatization of Eilat Port, lest its fertilizer export business be disturbed by the change.

Negotiations with the state are apace.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries shares fell 0.6% on slim turnover of NIS 65 million as the market chewed the news of its latest moves and maladies. Teva announced the acquisition of Cephalon for $6.8 billion and has reportedly also bought a Japanese company, Taiyo, for $495 million, though it hasn’t confirmed. Analysts assume the acquisitions are a defensive move against looming competition to Teva’s blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which is responsible for more than a third of the drug giant’s profits. Some analysts are saying that Teva paid a hair too much for Cephalon. (With reporting by Reuters)