Market Report Terrorism? Stocks Don't Even Blink

Tel Aviv stocks gained ground yesterday despite the terror attack shortly before closing. A suicide bomber struck at the heart of the city, detonating himself at a shawarma stand by the old central bus station, wounding at least 30 - yet stocks continued to rise.

The Israel Securities Authority had done a study showing that the TASE had become inured to terrorism, losing an average of 0.4 percent on days of attacks. Even the ISA study didn't indicate that stocks would rise, though.

The TA-25 index added 1 percent to 838.5 points: Of that, it rose 0.3 percent after the attack. The blue-chip index is only 1 percent below its all-time record high, which it reached the day before Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered his serious stroke.

The TA-100 index powered ahead by 1.3 percent to 858 points. Over the week the index rose 2 percent.

The Tel Tech-15 index starred, rising 2.6 percent to 454 points. Total turnover in stocks remained very high, at NIS 1.2 billion.

You could call it a day of ignoring the circumstances. Tel Aviv investors began the day by ignoring the negative sentiment on Wall Street and finished it ignoring the presumed intentions of the terrorists. In any event, the bank stocks and, again, real estate shares were the drivers behind the gains.

Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) rose 2.5 percent on turnover of NIS 44 million. Leumi advised the Bank of Israel that it has made up its mind: If it has to sell its holdings in two of the three conglomerates in which it owns stakes, then it chooses to keep its Israel Corporation stock. It will sell its interests in Africa Israel and Migdal, Leumi said. After the selloff, Bank Leumi will remain with an 18.4 percent interest in The Israel Corporation, which is controlled by the Ofer family.

While on the banks, shares in Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) charged ahead by 2.5 percent. Turnover was a massive NIS 141 million. Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT) added 2.6 percent.

The Real Estate-15 index climbed 2.2 percent to 439 points. This year, on assessments that the real estate sector is finally starting to recover, the index has risen more than 13 percent. Delek Real Estate (TASE: DLKR) added 4 percent on heavy turnover, for it, of NIS 5.5 million. Azorim (TASE: AZRM) rose 3.8 percent and Jerusalem Economic (TASE: ECJM) added 2.2 percent, but Gazit Globe (TASE: GLOB) bucked the trend and lost 0.6 percent.

Alrov Real Estate (TASE: ALRPR) had been ahead as much as 4 percent but it settled for a gain of 1.4 percent on turnover of almost NIS 10 million. Wednesday the stock dived 16.6 percent on huge turnover of NIS 38 million, the fifth highest on the market. In the space of two weeks, shares in Alrov Real Estate climbed 200 percent. During 2005, the stock multiplied in value by 10.

Only five of the stocks on the Yeter-30 broad market index lost ground yesterday. LIMS (TASE: LIMS) gained 1.7 percent on turnover of NIS 2.5 million; Isramco (TASE: ISRA.L) added 1.2 percent and the engineering group Baran (TASE: BRAN) gained 4.4 percent on heavy turnover of NIS 17.5 million.

Dual-listed stocks were also in the green, despite the drops on Wall Street the night before and even though some started with negative arbitrage gaps. Elbit Systems (TASE, Nasdaq: ESLT) gained 1.4 percent, Nice Systems (TASE, Nasdaq: NICE) added 3.1 percent and Partner Communications (TASE, Nasdaq: PTNR) rose 0.5 percent.