Tel Aviv stocks ended a turbulent session slightly lower as bank stocks corrected downward after several days of gains.
The benchmark TA-25 index lost 0.3% to 1,146 points and the broader TA-100 index eased 0.2% to 1,051 points. The bank index dropped 1.8%. Total turnover remained pita-thin, not even reaching a billion shekels.
No encouragement was to be had from Europe, where share prices fell across the board with the exception of Denmark. The Copenhagen-20 benchmark closed 0.7% higher. European investors were dismayed at weaker-than-expected U.S. statistics on orders of durable goods, traders say. Well, it doesn't take much to send the markets into a tizzy these days. Oil prices also fell on Wednesday.
Companies' financial statements are pouring in but investors aren't reacting much; many share price movements on Wednesday were probably random fluctuations.
Worthy of note on Wednesday was real estate empire Africa Israel Investments, which reported an increase in revenues but a steep drop in profit for 2011. Its stock fell 2.4%. Israel Discount Bank revealed perfectly decent results for the fourth quarter and full year, and was rewarded with a loss of 4.5%. But again, bank stocks have been climbing for weeks.
Then there was real estate-medical technology company Elbit Imaging, whose shares ended 1.7% higher after losing most of a midday spike of 7%. Why did its share climb? Good question: The company didn't release any announcement. Elbit Imaging B3 bonds gained 5%.
Israel Chemicals shares gained half a percent, not much considering the breaking - if expected - news that it had signed agreements to sell potash to China. It had been beaten by a few days by the likes of Canada's Canpotex and Belarus' BPC. All achieved prices of about $470 per ton. In a flash update, Psagot repeated a Buy recommendation for ICL and suggested that the potash volumes in the agreement augured well for the rest of the year.
Gazit Globe shares lost 1.3% even though the real estate behemoth reported an increase in all parameters for the fourth quarter and full year. Net operating income grew 15% in 2011 to NIS 3.5 billion, the company reported. There's just no pleasing some investors.
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