Bloomberg News

Israel Shares Drop Most in Month on U.S. Growth Concern, Protest

September 04, 2011

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Israeli shares slumped the most in almost a month amid concern the U.S. economy may slip into a recession and after more than 400,000 people demonstrated against the high cost of living in the Middle East nation.

Perrigo Co., the maker of over-the-counter drugs, slid for a second day. Discount Investment Corp., billionaire Nochi Dankner’s holding company, retreated 5 percent. The TA-25 Index dropped 4.4 percent, the biggest decline since Aug. 7, to 1,082.47 at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. In the U.S., the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index tumbled 2.5 percent on Sept. 2.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis rallied throughout the country yesterday to protest against rising costs for housing and consumer goods, urging the government to act to close social-welfare gaps. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to act on recommendations from a panel led by Manuel Trajtenberg, a Tel Aviv University economist, which aim to provide cheaper housing, daycare and transportation services and lower food prices.

The declines in Israeli stocks are triggered “80 percent from overseas and 20 percent from the protests,” said Saar Golan, a trader at Clal Finance Batucha Brokerage Ltd. in Tel Aviv. “The concern is that the protests will lead to a stricter regulatory environment for companies and higher taxes.”

U.S. Payrolls

U.S. stocks dropped last week as the S&P 500 posted its biggest monthly decline in more than a year and a report showing employment stagnated in August fueled concern the world’s largest economy may slip into a recession. Payrolls were unchanged, the weakest reading since September 2010, the Labor Department said Sept. 2.

Perrigo retreated 5.6 percent, the most since Aug. 7, to 319.2 shekels. Discount Investment declined to 31.43 shekels, the lowest level since Aug. 28.

Israel Chemicals Ltd., the company that extracts minerals from the Dead Sea to make fertilizer, tumbled 5 percent, the most since Aug. 7, to 49.54 shekels. A Ministry of Justice official proposed imposing an excess profit tax on Dead Sea Works Ltd., a unit of the company, according to a legal brief released by the ministry.

Israeli government bonds rose. The yield on the benchmark 5 percent Mimshal Shiklit notes due January 2020 dropped nine basis points, or 0.09 percentage point, to 4.37 percent.

In the Persian Gulf, markets resumed trading after a Muslim holiday last week. Dubai’s DFM General Index slipped 0.6 percent and Abu Dhabi’s gauge decreased 0.1 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.8 percent after rallying 2.1 percent yesterday. Kuwait’s measure jumped 0.9 percent.

Qatar’s QE Index advanced 1.1 percent and Bahrain’s BB All Share Index was little changed. In North Africa, Egypt’s EGX 30 Index added 0.5 percent.

--Editors: Shanthy Nambiar, Tim Farrand

To contact the reporters on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net; Susan Lerner in Jerusalem at slerner2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net


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