Africa Israel leads TA-25 lower

Israel's benchmark index dropped on Tuesday from a record close reached in the previous session. Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a holding company and property developer, paced the decline.

SHARES TEL AVIV Israel's benchmark index dropped on Tuesday from a record close reached in the previous session. Africa Israel Investments Ltd., a holding company and property developer, paced the decline. The TA-25 Index fell 8.38, or 0.7 percent, to 1,136.91 as 18 shares fell, six gained and one was unchanged. Investors bought and sold about NIS 1.9 billion in shares and convertibles. Africa Israel declined NIS 16.20, or 3.6%, to NIS 428.70. Shares of AFI Development Plc, a Russian property developer and subsidiary of Africa Israel, fell in London after Renaissance Capital recommended AFI as "hold," saying the company was sold at too high a price when it went public in May. "We believe the initial price was set too high, and that the company will likely find it very hard to live up to market expectations," Renaissance Capital analysts including Alexei Yazykov wrote in a research report. Bezeq Ltd. climbed NIS 0.14, or 1.9%, to NIS 7.43. Shares of Israel's largest telecommunications company were raised to "buy" from "market perform" at Leader & Co., which said the stock will probably trade at NIS 8.5 in the next 12 months. Kamada Ltd. rose NIS 4.81, or 13%, to NIS 43.18. The biopharmaceutical company denied a newspaper report that it is in negotiations to be bought out, saying the talks concern working with other drugmakers. Israel Chemicals Ltd. advanced NIS 0.38, or 1.1%, to NIS 34.67. Shares of the company that extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizers, and of Potash Corp., the world's largest fertilizer maker by market value, are UBS AG's "favorite" fertilizer stocks, UBS wrote in a report Tuesday. Nice Systems Ltd. dropped NIS 3.90, or 2.6%, to NIS 145.90. Ran Oz, the company's previous chief financial officer, sold 3,125 shares. WALL STREET US stocks fell for the first time in six days on concern the housing slump will hurt earnings after D.R. Horton Inc. forecast a loss and Standard & Poor's said it may cut ratings on bonds backed by subprime mortgages. The S&P 500 lost 8.44, or 0.6%, to 1,523.41 as of late morning trading in New York while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 53.24, or 0.4%, to 13,596.73 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 11.57, or 0.4%, to 2,658.45. EUROPE European stocks dropped the most in a month. Europe's Stoxx 600 index lost 1.1% to 394.02. The decline was the most since June 7. The Stoxx 50 fell 1.3% and the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the euro region, decreased 1.2%. National benchmarks slid in all of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 declined 1.2% to 6,630.90. Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 both sank 1.4%. ASIA Asian stocks declined, led by exporters, after the yen strengthened and the Australian dollar traded near an 18-year high. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index slipped 0.1% to 157.81 at 7:41 p.m. in Tokyo. Industry groups tracking automaker and technology shares were the biggest drags on the measure. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.1% from a seven-year high to 18,252.67. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.6% after jumping to a record Monday. Markets dropped elsewhere, except in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Thailand, whose SET index gained 1.7%, the most in the region. CURRENCY The shekel rose for a second day against the dollar, to 4.2276 as of 6:05 p.m. local time, from 4.2298 Monday. The dollar dropped to $1.3716 per euro during late morning trading in New York, from $1.3626 Monday. The dollar fell 0.9% to 122.26 yen, the biggest tumble since March 13, as traders exited riskier assets. COMMODITIES Crude oil for August delivery rose 60 cents, or 0.8%, to $72.79 a barrel during late morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold for August delivery gained $3.20 to $665.70 an ounce during afternoon trading on the NYMEX. The contract touched a high of $667, an intraday level not seen since June 7.