Israeli stocks powered ahead yesterday, propelled by the rebound in European and U.S. markets that followed better-than-expected economic data in the United States, Europe and China. But turnover remained paper-thin, indicating that many investors continue to sit on the fence as they ride out the global uncertainty.
That said, the upbeat figures briefly made profit-starved investors feel safer, which gave them an appetite for the risk inherent in stocks. But oil prices also rose yesterday, as Washington and Tehran continued to growl at each other. Iran is holding military exercises and the United States has been moving its ships in the area, which could lead to a confrontation.
While all the leading Israeli indexes gained ground yesterday, they didn't gain much of it. European markets were more mixed. While U.K. stocks gained more than 2%, French investors had to settle for a gain of 0.6% and Germany's DAX index gained 1.6%.
In Tel Aviv the strongest sectors yesterday were biomed and real estate stocks, both of which rose about 1.5%. The TA-25 index of blue chips gained 0.3% to 1,140 points, the broader TA-100 index gained 0.4% to 1,004 points and tech stocks advanced 0.6%. Investors smiled upon bank stocks, though, which finished the day 2% higher.
Total turnover was back to the low level that characterized the winter months, at NIS 1.2 billion.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries edged up 0.1%. On Monday Teva, the world's biggest maker of generic drugs, gained 3.3% on news that Shlomo Yanai was stepping down as CEO and would be replaced by Jeremy Levin, most recently of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Analysts thought these developments to be excellent news for Teva stock.
Can-Fite Biopharma shares gained 6.7% after the company reported good results for its liver-cancer drug in development, CF102.
Delek Group shares lost 2.6% after Migdal Capital Markets downgraded the stock from Buy to Hold. The investment house still likes the gas and oil exploration shares, though.
Rami Levi shares gained 1.2% after Excellence began coverage of Israel's retail sphere with a Buy rating for the heavy-discount retail chain.
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