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Israeli shares fell, paced by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world's largest maker of generic drugs, on investor concern that makers of branded remedies are more aggressively seeking to regain sales.
The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 Index declined 6.88, or 0.9 percent, to 781.46. Fifteen shares in the index dropped and 10 gained. Investors bought and sold about NIS 772m. in shares and convertibles, about half the daily average in the first half of the year.
Dan Farhi, head of institutional sales at Excellence Nessuah Securities & Investments Ltd., said investors were more concerned about the decline on Wall Street at the end of last week than about fighting in Lebanon, which he said is expected to end soon.
"The situation in the bourse isn't directly connected with Lebanon and more with what happened'' in the US, he said by phone. "There were declines at end of the week there. Sundays don't see much foreign activity here, but locals are very much affected by what happens on Wall Street." The TA-25 has dropped 4.3% since the Lebanon conflict began July 12.
Technology shares declined after Dell Inc., the world's largest personal-computer maker, fell 9.9% on July 21 because it said quarterly profit and sales won't meet analysts' estimates. Intel Corp., the world's biggest maker of semiconductors, reported the sharpest decline in profit since 2001 and said third-quarter sales would be less than analysts forecast.
Nice Systems Ltd., a maker of digital-recording equipment, had its lowest close in a month at NIS 111.3. AudioCodes Ltd., whose technology is used to place Internet phone calls, fell NIS 1.30, or 3%, to NIS 41.86.
Bank Hapoalim Ltd., the country's biggest lender, fell NIS 0.20, or 1%, to NIS 19.52. Chairman Shlomo Nehama flew to New York to reassure investors that the bank won't be substantially hurt by fighting in Lebanon if the conflict ends soon, the Hebrew press reported. Nehama met with a least 20 institutional investors who expressed concern that the value of their holdings in the bank would decline because of the fighting, the report said.
Teva dropped NIS 5.86, or 4%, to NIS 133.80, bringing its decline since the beginning of May to about one-third and shares are now at their lowest since May 2005.
Investors are concerned that makers of branded drugs are seeking to win back sales from generic makers such as Teva by striking deals with health maintenance organizations and producing their own generics, Excellence Nessuah's Farhi said.
Pfizer Inc., based in New York, plans to market generic versions of its Zoloft, the top-selling antidepressant in the US, through its Greenstone Ltd. division. Teva makes a generic version of the drug.