The benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index rose by 0.9% on Sunday to 1,148.54 points while the broader Tel Aviv-100 index was up just short of 1% to 1,026.94. The holiday mood at the Tel Aviv stock exchange was also reflected in the bond market, with the Tel Bond indices rising by up to 0.5%. Trading was thin at NIS 626 million.
The day's trading came against the backdrop of news of a deal between the IDB group's controlling shareholder, Nochi Dankner, and Argentine-Jewish real estate magnate Eduardo Elsztain on an agreement that will have Elsztain take a stake in Ganden Holdings, the private firm through which Dankner and his family control IDB Holding Corp.
Series Heh IDB Holding bonds rose by 7.4% Sunday at yields of 208%. Series Gimmel bonds rose by 7% on the day, but still were at junk-bond yields of 217%. IDB Development Corp. Series Zayin bonds rose by 7.2% with yields of 56%, while the firm's Series Yod bonds were trading 10% higher at 55% yields. The IDB group's Discount Investment Corp. bonds also had a good day yesterday, with Series Vav bonds trading 4.9% higher at yields of 11.6% and Series Dalet increasing in value by 4.3% with yields of 20%.
At the end of last week, Partner Communications announced that it was changing its 2012 dividend policy and would in future reassess profit distributions from time to time, based upon "cash flow, profitability, debt level, debt coverage ratios and the business environment in general," among other factors. Bonds from its company's parent company, Scailex, traded up to 2.1% higher yesterday, but were still at yields of 15% to 20%. On the other hand, Elbit Imaging bonds had a poor day yesterday, trading up to 1.3% lower at yields of between 29% and 57%. Variable government bonds showed increases of up to 0.07%.
Looking abroad, stocks and the euro ended a week of slight moves with limited action on Friday, as a late-day sell-off on Wall Street indicated continued concerns about the economy's growth prospects and Europe's debt crisis. Equities rose for much of the session on expectations that Spain was taking steps to seek a bailout, helping for a time to quell worries about Europe's lingering debt crisis. The benchmark S&P 500 and the Dow, however, ended the day marginally lower, while the Nasdaq eked out a small gain.
Oil prices rose on supply worries over tensions in the Middle East and delays in North Sea shipments. Brent crude climbed 1.3% above $111 a barrel, but still posted a drop of 4.5% on the week. The euro rose less than 0.1% against the dollar. Volume was thin ahead of the weekend and the expiration of options contracts contributed to the late-day volatility.
Traders said the euro may struggle to extend gains amid uncertainty over the timing of a potential bailout in Spain. "The Spain news was relatively small," said Joseph Greco, managing director of Meridian Equity Partners in New York, though he said "the euro-dollar currency play resulting from that news was definitely something that we spoke about. But it has been a lot of back and forth. I don't anticipate there will be much more room there."
Sources with knowledge of the matter said Spain was considering speeding up a planned rise in the retirement age as it races to cut spending and meet conditions of an expected international sovereign aid package. The sources also said Spain may freeze pensions, something that the country's deputy prime minister later denied.
Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, dented expectations, however, by saying that Spain did not need a sovereign bailout on top of the package already agreed for its banks because it was on the right path to regain the confidence of markets.
Apple Inc., the most valuable U.S. company, rose 0.2% as it debuted the latest version of its iPhone worldwide. The stock hit a record high of $705.07 before pulling back to close at $700.09.
With reporting by Reuters.
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