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Markets around the world stood firm yesterday as snow blanketed the United States and a record-breaking cyclone headed for Australia. Despite the cold gripping America, oil pulled back and the dollar rebounded, mainly on jitters as the uproar in Egypt turned violent.

European shares were mixed, ending just below or above the flatline. The most decisive showing yesterday was by Stockholm stocks, which lost 1.4%. Asian shares were stronger, with leading indexes in the green and the Thai benchmark SETI rising 1.9%.

Back in the Holy Land, where the climate is clement, stocks ended with gains. All the indexes finished in the green and turnover remained heavy at NIS 2.6 billion. The gains, however, were less than 1% - with the exception of mid-cap and tech stocks.

The heaviest trade of the day was in Israel Chemicals, which gained 1.5% on turnover of NIS 207 million after rival company Capotex announced it was jacking up potash prices on the spot market by $30 per ton, for standard and granulated potash alike.

Bezeq was second-most lively, ending flat on turnover of NIS 205 million.

Bank Hapoalim stock lost 0.8% yesterday as the fraud squad investigates whether top management, in the form of CEO Zion Kenan, helped former chairman Danny Dankner bypass the rules in taking out a NIS 14 million personal loan from the bank.

Shares of Magic Software shot up 7.2% after the company revealed strong results for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the year. (For more on that see page 8. ) WiMax company Alvarion, on the other hand, saw its stock sink 1.5% after admitting that fourth-quarter sales fell 17% against the same period of 2009, to $50 million. Ness Technologies gained 2.1% after reporting a 16% year over year climb in quarterly sales to $157 million.