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As world stocks powered ahead, Tel Aviv stocks ambled to a positive finish on feeble to normal turnover of NIS 1.8 billion.

Over in New York, the benchmark S&P 500 hit a 29-month high yesterday as investors hared after commodity and tech shares ahead of a Federal Reserve statement expected to be upbeat. Oil prices rebounded, rising above $86 a barrel, following President Barack Obama's call for lower corporate taxes, which would raise profits and boost energy demand.

Europe's leading indexes were also in the green across the board, albeit not by much: The biggest gainers on the continent were the Stockholm index and the London tech index. There, too, traders ascribed the increase to Obama's proposal of corporate tax cuts in the United States, which could impact business with Europe.

Over in Asia, Japanese stocks lost ground against the trend, but on thin volume, as investors headed for the fence. They are awaiting indications from the first financial statements for the last quarter of 2010.

Over here, the benchmark TA-25 index gained 0.4% to 1,329 points, and the broader TA-100 index gained 0.4% to 1,237 points. Mid-caps, however, lost ground against the trend, and quite a bit of it, ending 2.1% lower.

Among its biggest losers were Cohen Development, down 3.8%, Danya Cebus, down 3%, and most notably, Givot Olam.

Indeed, the talk of the town was oil exploration partnership Givot Olam, whose participation units plunged 52% on huge turnover of NIS 125 million (see the article to the right to find out why ). Turnover in the exploration company even exceeded that of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which a ) was the liveliest share on the TA-100 index, with turnover of NIS 121 million, b ) gained a big 2.5%, lifting its market capitalization to NIS 186 billion, which is a hundred times total turnover on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange yesterday, and c ) bought another Peruvian company.

Also in the mid-cap doghouse were exploration companies Modiin, down 6%, and Naphtha, which lost 2.2%.

Africa Israel Investments leaped 6% and a bit after the company announced it was buying 9.7% more of its Russian investments subsidiary AFI Development, which is listed in London. And over in London, AFI Development gained 3.6% yesterday.

Yuli Ofer's holding company Premium lost 1.3%. Yesterday, the company announced the acquisition of Ivory Computers, which diversifies its area of interest from hydrocarbon exploration to electronics.

Babylon gained 4.2% on reports that its board has designed a dividend policy. To wit, the online translations company will be distributing 50% of its net profit - if, of course, conditions allow. For more on that, see the briefs on Page 8.