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EZchip Advances to Record as Bourse Reopens: Tel Aviv Mover

EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. surged to the highest on record as it closed the gap with U.S.-traded shares after the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange opened for the first time since Feb. 7 following a general strike.

EZchip soared 12 percent to 138.50 shekels, or the equivalent of $37.22, at the 5 p.m. close in Tel Aviv, the highest since at least April 2002, when Bloomberg began tracking the shares. The stock closed at $37.06 in New York last week after the processor maker on Feb. 8 reported better-than-estimated adjusted fourth-quarter earnings. The TA-100 Index rose 0.3 percent today. The Bloomberg Israel-US 25 Index of the largest Israeli companies traded in New York fell 3 percent last week.

“The stock was up by over 10 percent following the numbers on Nasdaq trading,” Daniel Meron, a Tel Aviv-based analyst at RBC Capital Markets said by telephone today. “The rise in Tel Aviv today closes the gap.”

Yokneam, Israel-based EZchip reported adjusted earnings of 22 cents per share in the fourth quarter, beating the 20-cent median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company will benefit in 2012 from an improvement in the U.S. economy that will boost capital spending at phone carriers such as AT&T Inc., Gary Mobley, an analyst at Benchmark Co., said last week.

No Strike

The Israeli government and the country’s largest labor union reached an agreement today ending a general strike that shut banks, government offices and the stock exchange. The Tel Aviv bourse closed a half hour later than normal following an opening delay of an hour because of the strike.

Under the accord employment conditions for contract workers will be “significantly improved,” the Finance Ministry said today. As part of the agreement, the labor federation said it won’t strike over economic demands for the next three years, according to the ministry.

About 3.2 billion shares traded in Tel Aviv today, compared with the 12-month average of 4.4 billion, according to data compiled with Bloomberg.

Perrigo Co., the largest U.S. maker of generic over-the-counter drugs which bought B’nei Brak, Israel-based pharmaceutical Agis Industries Ltd. in 2005, slumped 4.4 percent, the most since October, to 349.8 shekels, or $94. The U.S.-traded shares closed at $93.31 on Feb. 10.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs, declined 1.7 percent to 165.60 shekels, or the equivalent of $44.50 after its U.S.-traded shares closed at $44.16.

Allot Communications Ltd. tumbled 9.4 percent, the most since Oct. 2, to 61.19 shekels, or $16.44. The New York shares closed at $16.13.

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