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The Ticker / Dollar, euro surge further following Bank of Israel’s rate cut

Both the U.S. dollar and the euro strengthened further against the shekel on Tuesday after the Bank of Israel announced a cut to its base interest rate on Monday from 0.25% to 0.1%, carried out in part to lower the value of the shekel. Tuesday, the representative rate of the dollar was set at 3.952 shekels, up 2.44% on the day, while the euro rate was set at 4.478 shekels, a rise of 2.68%. Israeli export firms regularly push for steps to undercut the strength of the shekel to make exports more competitive. Israel Discount Bank economist NIra Shamir commented that strength of the shekel has been based on “strong fundamentals” including accelerated economic activity in Israel, adding the Israeli currency is expected to rise in value in the future, but she said, “The Bank of Israel is signaling that it is prepared to join the global currency wars,” referring to competition among countries to devalue their currencies. (Dror Reich)

Teva announces success in test of new drug chronic migraine drug

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries announced on Tuesday that it has obtained positive results from a study evaluating doses of TEV-48125, a drug the Jerusalem-based company is developing for the treatment of chronic migraines, defined as migraines occurring on at least 15 days per month. The study revealed what Teva called “a significant and clinically relevant reduction” in headaches. “Chronic migraine is a challenging, complex and highly debilitating condition that desperately needs effective new treatment options,” said Michael Hayden, Teva’s President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer. The World Health Organization ranked chronic migraines No. 4 in its list of debilitating conditions. In the United States alone, 3.2 million people, most of them women, suffer from chronic migraine headaches. (Yoram Gabison)

Allot Communications to acquire operations of Madrid-based Optenet

Hod Hasharon-based Allot Communications, which develops Internet traffic software systems to optimize broadband and added value services, has agreed to acquire the operations of Optenet, a Madrid-based provider of information security services, for $ 6.5 million in cash and an additional sum of up to $ 26 million, tied to performances benchmarks over a five-year period. The maximum $ 26 million payment would only kick in if Optenet generated at least $ 140 million in sales over the period. Allot expects the transaction to close by the end of next month, and sees the purchase of Optenet’s operations as a way to substantially broaden its information security business from cellular communications companies. Optenet was founded in 1997. It has a staff of 150 and has a customer base of 140,000, including Deutsche Telekom, O2, Orange and Vodafone. (Yoram Gabison)

TASE retreats from record high, energy stocks slide over antitrust decision

Shares on the Tel Aviv exchange generally declined in trading on Tuesday. The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index was off by 0.15% to 1,501.15 points, retreating from the all-time high that it reached on Monday, while the Tel Aviv-100 declined by just 0.03% on Tuesday to 1,326.86. Trading volume on the day was 1.38 billion shekels ($ 349 million). The Oil and Gas index declined by 3.7% against the backdrop of news that Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo would defer a decision by two months on breaking up the gas monopoly that controls most of the country’s offshore natural gas reserves. (See additional coverage on this page). Shares in stakeholders in the offshore fields declined on the news, including Avner Oil Exploration, shares of which were off by 5.2%, Ratio Oil Exploration, which declined by 4.4%, and Delek Drilling, which lost 4%. In other developments of note, on Tuesday morning Whitesmoke Software released a shelf prospectus that would have it raise 10 million shekels through the sale of shares. (Dror Reich) 

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