Stocks: Teva advance pushes TA-25 higher

Israeli stocks rose Wednesday led by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. after the company agreed to take over ownership of Andrx Corp.'s birth-control pills.

By STOCKS: TEVA ADVANCE PUSHES TA-25 HIGHER
November 2, 2006 08:10
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SHARES TEL AVIV Israeli stocks rose Wednesday led by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. after the company agreed to take over ownership of Andrx Corp.'s birth-control pills. The Tel Aviv-25 Index gained 1.61, or 0.2 percent, to 899. Fourteen stocks fell, 10 rose and one remained unchanged. Investors bought and sold about NIS 1.48 billion. Teva, the world's biggest maker of generic drugs, added NIS 3.70, or 2.7%, to NIS 142.40. The company will take over Andrx Corp.'s birth-control pills under an agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission. Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Teva competitor, won US antitrust clearance Tuesday to buy Andrx for $1.9b., on condition that Watson and Andrx sell overlapping products. Bezeq Ltd., Israel's biggest telecommunications provider, rose NIS 0.07, or 1.3%, to NIS 5.9. The company said third-quarter profit more than doubled as its mobile-phone unit lowered marketing expenses and losses at the company's satellite-broadcast unit narrowed. Dor Alon Energy in Israel Ltd. added NIS 0.39, or 0.8%, to NIS 52.67. The operator of gas stations said it has agreed to buy AM:PM grocery stores in Israel for NIS 143m. Partner Communications Ltd., Israel's biggest cellular telecommunications operator, climbed NIS 0.82, or 1.8%, to NIS 46.56. Merrill Lynch & Co. raised its price estimate for the stock to NIS 53 from NIS 48 following Tuesday's third-quarter earnings report. Partner said third-quarter profit climbed six-fold as the number of subscribers grew and customers used their phones more. Retalix Ltd. jumped NIS 5.27, or 8.1%, to NIS 70.66. The company's US-traded shares sank 11% Tuesday to $16.69 after Retalix said revenue and profit for 2006 would be less than it expected. That put the company's Israeli shares at a discount after they lost 19% Tuesday. WALL STREET US stocks dropped, stalling a five-week rally, after a manufacturing report raised concern that the economy won't have enough momentum to support earnings growth. CVS Corp., the second-largest US drugstore chain, had the biggest drop in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index after the New York Times said it would spend $21b. to buy Caremark Rx Inc. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 29.93, or 0.3%, to 12,050.80 in midday trading in New York. The S&P 500 lost 4.06, or 0.3%, to 1,373.88 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 10, or 0.4%, to 2356.71. The Dow fell for a fourth day as signs of a slowdown in economic growth offset better-than-expected earnings from companies such as MasterCard Inc. and Cigna Corp. The Institute of Supply Management's factory index for October fell to 51.2 from 52.9 last month. Economists had expected a reading of 53, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Measures above 50 signal expansion. EUROPE European stocks rose, snapping the longest losing streak since July, after a gain in metal prices fueled speculation that mining industry profits will increase. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index rose for the first time in five days, climbing 0.4% to 354.60 in London. The Stoxx 50 added 0.4% and the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the 12 nations sharing the euro, gained 0.2%. National benchmarks climbed in 14 of 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 0.3% to 6,149.60 while Germany's DAX added 0.4% and France's CAC 40 Index rose 0.4%. ASIA Asian stocks gained, lifting benchmarks in Australia, Hong Kong, India and Indonesia to records. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index rose 0.5% to 132.95 at 7:18 p.m. in Tokyo. A measure of healthcare stocks had the only drop among 10 industry groups. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.6%, while the Hang Seng Index gained 0.7% in Hong Kong. India's Sensitive Index rose 0.6% and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index added 0.5%, closing at a record for a fourth straight session. South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.7% after North Korea said it would return to diplomatic talks on its nuclear weapons program. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.2% to 16,375.26, while the Topix index rose 0.3%. CURRENCIES The dollar was little changed against the euro and yen after the manufacturing report in the US. The dollar traded at $1.2767 per euro at 11:13 a.m. in New York from $1.2762 Tuesday. The US currency touched $1.2798, the weakest since $1.2819 on September 25. The dollar also traded at 117.02 yen from 116.98. It reached 116.59, the weakest since 116.26 on September 26. COMMODITIES Crude oil fell on speculation that US fuel supplies will increase in coming weeks after a government report showed that US refineries boosted operating rates. Crude oil for December delivery fell 63 cents, or 1.1%, to $58.10 a barrel at 11:37 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold traded near the highest in more than seven weeks. Gold for December delivery gained $9.80, or 1.6%, to $616.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the NYMEX. Earlier, they traded at $617.80, the highest since September 7.(Bloomberg)

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