Israeli stocks traded in New York outperformed U.S. shares by the most in two years, boosted by Radware Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
The Bloomberg Israel-US 25 Index of the largest New York-traded Israeli companies gained 2.9 percent last week, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 3.5 percent. The 6.4 percentage point difference was the largest since the five-day period ended Feb. 20, 2009. The TA-25 Index fell 0.7 percent at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv today after advancing 2.1 percent last week. Teva surged 6.3 percent in the week to $42.72, $1.01 more than the Tel Aviv shares, the largest premium on the Israel-US index. Radware climbed 3.7 percent.
Teva advanced last week after it filed suit to defend its patent on a breast-cancer drug and as the safety of a multiple sclerosis-treatment from a competitor came under scrutiny. Radware gained after an order from a large service provider showed companies are still spending on technology, easing concerns that demand will slow, said Rohit Chopra, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
The sale “gives you at least some comfort that companies are spending in certain areas,” Chopra said in a telephone interview from New York. “It could mean something larger down the road.”
U.S. stocks slumped last week after the Federal Reserve took no new steps to boost growth at a meeting on Dec. 13, failing to meet some investors’ expectations for further stimulus. The Nasdaq has fallen 3.7 percent this year, while the Israel-US index is down 16 percent. The TA-25 has lost 18 percent.
‘Profoundly Adverse Effect’
Fitch Ratings lowered France’s rating outlook and put the grades of nations including Spain and Italy on review for a downgrade, citing Europe’s failure to find a “comprehensive solution” to the debt crisis.
“The systemic nature of the eurozone crisis is having a profoundly adverse effect on economic and financial stability across the region,” Fitch said in a statement.
The shekel fell 1 percent last week against the dollar to 3.7981, the best performance among 10 emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa tracked by Bloomberg.
Teva, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, has advanced for six consecutive days in New York, climbing 0.7 percent on Dec. 16 to $42.72. The shares gained 2.8 percent to 162.9 shekels, or the equivalent of $42.89, in Tel Aviv today.
Radware, which makes technology to help networks run more efficiently, advanced in the U.S. for a third week, the longest string of increases since July. The shares added 0.3 percent on Dec. 16, extending gains this month to 9.4 percent. An order the company announced Dec. 12 may boost earnings and shows Radware’s ability to sell security products, diversifying its business, Chopra said.
MagicJack VocalTec Ltd., the Israeli company whose founders invented the technology used for making telephone calls over the internet, surged the most in three months after canceling a plan to sell shares. The stock jumped 18 percent to $23.94 on Dec. 16, paring its loss for the year to 4.7 percent.
MagicJack said revenue in the fourth quarter will be as much as $60 million. The Netanya, Israel-based company reported third-quarter sales of $28.9 million on Oct. 28.
Israel, whose population of 7.7 million is similar in size to 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.