The Israeli stock market is hot, and Stockpickr has a bunch of ideas about how to capitalize on it. The shekel is stronger than ever relative to the dollar, and Israel has reportedly surpassed Canada as the foreign country with the most companies listed on the Nasdaq. Tech investment in Israel has been going up 20% year over year and is now at the highest levels since 2000. The Israeli market has been on a tear, up 15% this year so far. Several Stockpickr members have put together lists of the cheapest Israeli stocks. Stockpickr member Ira Krakow has been putting together an interesting portfolio. And we also have the portfolio of cheapest members of the Nasdaq Israel Index, as ranked by factors like P/E and EV/EBITDA. One interesting pick is Ampal-American Israel ( AMPL), a private-equity firm (like Blackstone, for instance) that owns stakes in Israeli companies, including a natural gas company that is building a pipeline between Egypt and Israel, various shopping centers, retail chains and retirement homes, among other entities. One company that has been permanently on the cheap list that I believe is poised to break out is Check Point Software Technologies ( CHKP). The security software company has a forward P/E of just 14 vs. competitors like Symantec ( SYMC) at 16 and VeriSign ( VRSN) at 20. The company has $700 million in cash with no debt and has met or exceeded analyst estimates in each of the past four quarters.
And I'm not the only one to think Check Point is cheap. It makes its way onto Stockerblog's list of cheap security software stocks and is also on the portfolio of Citigroup's Buyout Candidates, a list of companies the bank's research team believes would be attractive takeovers. Generic pharmaceutical maker Teva Pharmaceutical ( TEVA) is also on the list with a P/E of just 9. Teva on Monday
won a case against Novartis ( NVS), which was trying to prevent Teva from selling a generic version of Lotrel, a blood pressure drug. Syneron Medical ( ELOS) is a company squarely situated in one of the best demographic trends to hit the investment world: Their RFID treatments are used for wrinkle removal, hair removal and varicose vein treatment. The company has a forward P/E of just 13 and an excellent balance sheet with $125 million in cash and zero debt. Super investor Seth Klarman, author of the book Margin of Safety (which sells on Amazon for over $800), owns shares of Syneron. For Klarman's full portfolio, check out the Seth Klarman portfolio at Stockpickr. Other interesting Israel picks include: Magal Security Systems ( MAGS), which also appears in the Homeland Security portfolio. Answers ( ANSW), which recently appeared on Barron's list of Internet content players that might be possible takeover candidates. Answers also has been mentioned by Mark Cuban as one of his holdings. For the full list of cheap or interesting Israel picks check out The First Israel Fund and the portfolio of cheapest members of the Nasdaq Israel Index.