Market Report / TASE Closes With Gains After Another Nervous Trading Day

Talk of a Western strike in Syria sends up oil prices, dollar exchange rate.

Eran Azran
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Eran Azran

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended a jittery trading session with gains on Wednesday, pulled upward as Wall Street opened in the green. The fears of an imminent U.S. attack on Syria that caused sharp losses in local stocks on Tuesday have not dissipated.

All the major share indexes ended trade Wednesday with gains. The benchmark TA-25 index closed up 0.7%, at 1,165 points, one day after losing 2.4%. The broader TA-100 index gained 0.9% to close at 1,070 points. The Banks-5 index rose 1.4%, a day after it lost 2.9%. The Real Estate-15 index gained 1.5% after closing down 2.9% Tuesday.

Turnover was NIS 1.5 billion, about 50% more than the daily average for July and significantly higher than recent August trading volumes.

Syria was the talk of the day around the world Wednesday. The prospect of Western military action against the Assad regime hit emerging market assets hard, pushed oil to a six-month high and fueled a rebound in the dollar as investors sought the greenback’s safety.

The dollar continued to gain ground against the shekel Wednesday, closing at NIS 3.666, an increase of 0.25% and a high not seen since July 8. The euro also gained ground, closing at NIS 4.902, up 1.5%. Both currencies had also gained against the shekel on Tuesday, amid concerns that Israel could be swept into a regional conflict.

Meanwhile, the local reporting season continued. Israel Discount Bank gained 4% after releasing its financials. First International Bank of Israel, locally known as Beinleumi, also released its financials yesterday. The bank reported net profit of NIS 149 million for the second quarter - up 5.7% on the parallel quarter in 2012, but 1% less than in the previous quarter. Shares of Beinleumi gained 0.4% on the day.

Mobile operator Partner Communications (Orange) reported that its financial situation weakened by every measure in the second quarter, but hinted that competition was also softening. Customer defections have slowed and the average revenue per customer rose slightly from the first quarter. Partner’s share price rose 0.7% yesterday.

Shemen Oil and Gas shares declined 5%. Earlier this week the company reported finds of natural gas and signs of oil at a depth of 90 meters in exploratory drilling.

El Al airlines reported yesterday morning that there was only a small chance that the Fimi fund would go through with its NIS 40 million investment in the airline. El Al’s share gained 1.2%

At a gas mask distribution center in Tel Aviv. August 28, 2013.Credit: AP