TA-25 retreats, led by Bank Hapoalim

By NEWS AGENCIES
June 28, 2007 07:02

Israel's main stock index declined for a third day on Wednesday, led by Bank Hapoalim Ltd., the country's largest bank.

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SHARES TEL AVIV Israel's main stock index declined for a third day on Wednesday, led by Bank Hapoalim Ltd., the country's largest bank. The TA-25 Index dropped 11.27, or 1 percent, to 1,107.87 as 20 shares fell, four gained and one was unchanged. Investors bought and sold about NIS 2 billion in shares and convertibles. The market has fallen as the shekel weakened against the dollar, raising concern that the Bank of Israel will have to raise interest rates to contain inflation. "In the beginning we thought the decline was a one-timer, but it might seem like a trend," said Dan Farhi, head of international sales at Excellence Nessuah Securities and Investments Ltd. in Ramat-Gan. Bank Hapoalim retreated NIS 0.32, or 1.6%, to NIS 20.24. Israel Discount Bank Ltd. slipped NIS 0.16, or 1.8%, to NIS 8.81. Given Imaging Ltd., a maker of capsule cameras used to diagnose digestive system ailments, rallied NIS 5.80, or 5.1%, to NIS 120.60. Given said Wednesday that the use of its small-bowel capsule is now covered by Japan's Central Social Health Insurance Committee. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world's largest maker of generic drugs, advanced NIS 1.60, or 0.9% to NIS 174.60. Teva said Tuesday that the US Food and Drug Administration granted it approval to market its version of GlaxoSmithKline's Zofran tablets that prevent nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. WALL STREET US stocks fell for a fourth day after a government report said orders for durable goods declined more than forecast and concerns lingered that losses may worsen in bonds tied to mortgage loans. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 1.52, or 0.1%, to 1,491.37 as of late morning trading in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 24.14, or 0.2%, to 13,313.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 3.15, or 0.1%, to 2,577.31. Losses were limited after oil producers rose on a government report showing an unexpected decline in gasoline inventories. EUROPE Stocks fell for a fifth day after UK mortgage lender Northern Rock Plc said higher interest rates are cutting into profit and a European Central Bank member signaled further increases in borrowing costs. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 0.5% to 387.69 at the close in London. The index has dropped 3.1% from a 6 1/2-year high reached on June 1, heading for its first monthly decline in four months. The Stoxx 50 fell 0.3%, and the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the euro region, decreased 0.4%. National benchmarks fell today in all 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 lost 0.5% to 6,527.60, France's CAC 40 slid 0.2% and Germany's DAX decreased 0.8%. ASIA Stocks fell to the lowest level in two weeks after commodity prices dropped and on concern a US housing slump will curb growth in the region's biggest export market. Shanghai Automotive Co. paced China's CSI 300 Index to a second day of gains after a government report showed profits by industrial companies jumped. All 10 industry groups that make up the Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index retreated. The measure, which rose to a record last week, lost 1.2% to 151.03 as of 7:33 p.m. in Tokyo, the lowest since June 14 and its biggest slide since June 8. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped for a fourth day, falling 1.2% to 17,849.28, its longest string of declines in three months. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 2%, the most since March 14. Benchmarks fell elsewhere in the region, except in Thailand and Pakistan.


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