Tel Aviv's leading indices stocks closed mixed Wednesday, after a session spent violently swinging above and below the flatline. Blue chips finished the day in the green but technology and oil exploration stocks couldn't claw back lost ground.
While Tel Aviv's benchmark blue chips index, the TA-25 index, closed 1.7% higher, world markets generally traded down yesterday. Stocks slipped around the world in the wait for an announcement from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which did arrive. By then German shares had taken a hammering, losing almost 2.5%, but losses in London were a slimmer 1.4% and French shares lost 1.6%. Japanese shares inched up.
Over in Israel, the imminent statehood bid by the Palestinians has also been weighing on shares, as has the sense of global economic woe. "The situation isn't rosy yet," said Daniel Rapoport, head of the foreign investors trading desk at Excellence Nessuah. The gains in Israel may have been a correction, he surmised.
But total trading volumes - NIS 1.6 billion yesterday - remain low for the season, Rapoport added. People are sitting on the fence ahead of the Palestinian declaration of statehood, it seems, though the market isn't pricing in a substantial impact on the Israeli economy.
On to the stocks: Shares of Israeli banks jumped like rabbits despite a frown from Deutsche Bank's Dan Harverd, who lowered their targets quite a bit. Hapoalim gained 1.9%, Leumi soared 3.5%, Discount Bank gained 4% and the smallest of the big four, Mizrahi-Tefahot, advanced 0.8%.
Stocks associated in investor minds with economic concentration might have been expected to lose ground, on vague anticipation of future forced divestments, but by and large they didn't. Israel Corporation shares gained 0.7%. Delek Group shares jumped 3.7%. Discount Investment, a member of the IDB group of companies, gained 2.4%, but IDB group company Koor Industries lost 0.2%.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries shares lost 1.3% after announcing a court ruling that it would have to pay Baxter $144 million for its legal costs over the propofol scandal in the U.S. The drug, made by Teva and distributed by Baxter, was implicated in patients' infections with hepatitis C virus. (With reporting by Shelly Appelberg and Reuters )
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