ClickSoftware Tops Returns on Service Demand: Israel Overnight

ClickSoftware Technologies Ltd. (CKSW), the maker of order-tracking programs, is posting the best returns among the largest Israeli companies traded in New York after adjusting for price volatility as its customers seek to retain clients by investing in better service.

The shares returned 30 percent this year with a historical volatility of 45, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. On average, the largest Israeli companies traded in the U.S. have dropped 16 percent this year with an annual volatility of 27. The Bloomberg Israel-US 25 Index climbed 2.1 percent yesterday, led by MagicJack VocalTec Ltd. (CALL) The benchmark TA-25 Index (TA-25) fell today, dropping 1.4 percent by the close in Tel Aviv.

ClickSoftware is benefitting from demand from companies including DirecTV (DTV), the largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, which is investing in customer service as competitors including Dish Network Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. step up their efforts to create better experiences for subscribers, said Daniel Meron, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

“The deals they’ve won this year helped the growth of the company,” Meron said in a telephone interview from Tel Aviv. “They operate in an area that helps companies’ service quality, which is important in this weak economy.”

Allot Communications Ltd. (ALLT), the Israeli maker of high-speed networking equipment, is the second-biggest gainer when adjusting for risk on the Bloomberg Israel-US 25 Index in 2011, returning 46 percent with annual volatility of 69. The TA-25 Index has dropped 18 percent this year.

Mergers and Acquisitions

ClickSoftware, based in Petach Tikva, Israel, will report a 21 percent increase in sales this year to $86.2 million, according to the average estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue is forecast to climb to $96.7 million in 2012.

The company, which helps customers EON AG and PG&E Corp. track orders, said at the end of September that it received an order from a “multi-billion dollar” electricity generator.

“On top of the strong fundamentals of the company, it’s also a potential target for a merger or acquisition,” Meron said.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) climbed 3 percent yesterday, the most in three weeks, as better-than-forecast data on housing starts added to expectations the world’s largest economy will weather Europe’s debt crisis. The Nasdaq Composite Index (CCMP) climbed 3.2 percent. The shekel gained 0.2 percent to 3.7676 a dollar at 5:52 p.m. in Tel Aviv.

Israel, whose population of 7.7 million is similar in size to that of Switzerland’s, has about 60 companies traded on the Nasdaq stock market, the most of any country outside North America after China. It’s also home to the largest number of startup companies per capita in the world.

Apple Acquisition

Anobit Technologies Ltd. told its workers at a meeting that an agreement to sell the closely held company to Apple Inc. (AAPL) has been finalized, paving the way for Apple’s first Israeli acquisition, the Calcalist newspaper reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

A message left at the offices of Anobit in Herzliya seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, didn’t return a call seeking comment on the report.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA), the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, advanced 1.5 percent to $42.34 yesterday after the Tel Aviv shares fell 2.3 percent to 159.10 shekels, or the equivalent of $42.19. The shares declined 1.3 percent to 157.10 shekels in Tel Aviv today.

MagicJack, Check Point

The company forecast lackluster profit growth for next year and said it may buy back as much as $3 billion worth of its own shares to return money to investors.

Earnings excluding some costs will be $5.48 to $5.68 a share in 2012, Chief Executive Officer Shlomo Yanai said on a call with investors today. Analysts at Leerink Swann expected an estimate of $5.55 to $5.85. Teva also indicated it may not meet its long-term target of $31 billion in sales by 2015, which Yanai described as an “aspirational goal.”

MagicJack VocalTec, the Israeli company whose founders invented the technology used to make telephone calls over the Internet, climbed to the highest level in a year, rising 7.9 percent to $13.86.

The company raised its sales outlook last week after adding 365,000 customers in the 30 days through mid-December, which Chief Executive Officer Daniel Borislow said was similar to the number of new clients the company took on during all of the third quarter.

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP), the world’s second- largest network-security company, advanced 2.9 percent to $54.61, the highest level in a week.

“The December quarter is tracking better than the previous fourth quarters with a strong pipeline heading into year-end,” Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets & Co., who has an “outperform” rating, wrote in an e-mailed report yesterday. “Our checks indicate that security spending in the December quarter continues to be a top priority.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tal Barak Harif in New York at tbarak@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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