Strauss Group Ltd. and Osem Investments Ltd., Israeli food producers, dropped the most in almost two weeks on speculation lower sales during the Passover week and protests over food prices will erode earnings.
Strauss declined 0.9 percent, the most since March 29, to 45.74 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv. Osem declined 1.4 percent, the largest retreat since March 28, to 56.56 shekels.
Local food stores reported weaker sales during the Passover holiday that started April 6 as consumers preferred to buy cheaper products amid signs of an economic slowdown, TheMarker reported. Protests since July against rising prices, from housing to cottage cheese, have spurred Israeli policy makers to zero in on measures to reduce the cost of living. Food manufacturers and supermarkets have cut prices in response to the demonstrations.
“There are concerns that as we get into summer we will see a renewal of consumer protests, which will put pressure on the prices and sales of food makers,” said Gil Dattner, an analyst at Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. in Tel Aviv. “This comes in addition to a weaker economic environment.”
Economic growth probably will slow to 3.1 percent this year, the central bank said on March 26, from 4.7 percent in 2011.