Wall Street gives up early gains over inflation worries

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. gains NIS 2.30, or 1.4%, to NIS 168.80, the highest in 11 days.

stock market good 88 (photo credit: )
stock market good 88
(photo credit: )
SHARES TEL AVIV The Tel Aviv-25 Index was unchanged at 1,068.51, snapping a two-day losing streak, as 15 members fell and 10 gained. Investors traded about NIS 1.72 billion in shares and convertible securities. Alvarion Ltd. declined NIS 2.38, or 7.2 percent, to NIS 30.82. BluePhoenix Solutions Ltd. sank NIS 6.12, or 13%, to NIS 40.85, the lowest since June 19. Orckit Communications Ltd.surged NIS 5.69, or 23%, to NIS 30.50, its steepest rise since October 2005. A unit of the maker of telecommunications equipment won a contract to supply networks to a Deutsche Telekom AG customer. Perrigo Co. jumped NIS 7.80, or 6.6%, to NIS 125.40, extending a 5.5% gain Tuesday. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. gained NIS 2.30, or 1.4%, to NIS 168.80, the highest in 11 days. The world's largest maker of generic drugs won rights to sell different versions of Merck & Co. Inc's Fosamax osteoporosis medicine in the US. WALL STREET Stocks turned lower Wednesday as many investors, still uneasy about the US economy, cashed in earlier gains after a Federal Reserve official suggested that rising inflation could prevent the central bank from making further interest-rate cuts. After climbing until early afternoon Wednesday, stocks began extending the losses they made Tuesday, when the Dow suffered its biggest percentage drop since February 27, 2007. The trigger that day was the Institute for Supply Management's report of a surprising January contraction in the US service sector - news that bolstered the argument that the nation is in recession. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 18.21, or 0.15%, to 12,246.92, after rising more than 100 points in earlier trading. On Tuesday, the blue-chip index fell 370 points, or 2.93%. Broader stock indicators also gave up gains. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.43, or 0.18%, to 1,334.21, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 9.83, or 0.43%, to 2,299.74. EUROPE European stocks shrugged off sharp drops on Asian markets Wednesday after a steep drop on Wall Street overnight fanned investors' fears the US economy was sliding into a recession that would sap demand for Asian exports. In the UK, the benchmark FTSE 100 Index slipped 0.01% to 5,867.70, while Germany's DAX climbed 0.5% to 6,800.47. France's CAC gained 0.7% to 4,811.41, helped by a 52% jump in annual net profit at France Telecom. ASIA Investors dumped shares after figures released Tuesday showed the US service sector shrank last month for the first time since March 2003. That wiped out some renewed confidence about the American economy after the US Federal Reserve's two big rate cuts late last month. In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index plunged 1,339.24 points, or 5.4%, to close the half-day session at 23,469.46. Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 4.7% to 13,099.24. Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, Australia's key index fell 3.2%, while India's Sensex dropped nearly 3%. Thailand's market slid 1.6%. CURRENCIES The shekel rose to 3.6330 per dollar, from 3.6350 Tuesday. It was the best performer among 11 emerging-market currencies in the European region over the past month. The dollar touched the strongest since January 23 against the euro on speculation the European Central Bank on Thursday may signal the economy is slowing. The pound weakened versus 15 of 16 most-active currencies after a report showed consumer confidence dropped to the lowest in at least three years during January. The dollar traded at $1.4643 per euro, from $1.4647, after touching a two-week high of $1.4591. COMMODITIES Oil futures dropped Wednesday after the government reported unexpectedly large jumps in stockpiles of crude oil and gasoline and a surprise increase in stocks of heating oil. Light, sweet crude for March delivery fell $1.31 to $87.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier dropping as low as $86.77, its lowest level in two weeks. Precious metals rebounded Wednesday as investors went bargain hunting following sharp drops in gold and platinum. Gold for April delivery gained $17.30 to fetch $907.60 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold plunged $19.10 on Tuesday to its lowest level in two weeks. Platinum recovered as well, with the April contract hitting a new record of $1,822.60 an ounce before easing back to $1,818, still up $32.50.