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TA Stocks Recover From Early Lows, Led by Banks

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Tel Aviv shares recovered from early lows on Tuesday to finish their Sukkot holiday-shortened week with solid gains.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's benchmark TA-25 index added another 0.8% by the close to finish at 1,240.08 points on turnover of more than NIS 1.24 billion. The broader TA-100 was ahead 0.7% to close at 1,123.38. The day's gains brought the cumulative rise in the TA-25 since it hit a low on August 28, amid concerns over a U.S. attack on Syria, to 7.3%.

Tuesday’s advance was led by bank shares, which have been the biggest beneficiary of the post-non-war rally. The TA-Banking index rose 1.2% to 1,198.91 for the session, capping a 10.5% climb since its low of August 27. Bank Leumi led lenders higher, advancing 2.25% on turnover of NIS 68.3 million, while First International Bank of Israel rose 2%.

Other global equity markets were mostly flat, although Wall Street advanced as investors took positions ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled Federal Reserve policy meeting that is expected to start the rollback of its stimulus program.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.3% at late morning New York time to 15,547.43. The Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Indices were both ahead 0.4% at 1,703.82. and 3,733.76, respectively. Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares was down 0.2% at 1,255.93.

Although the dollar retreated globally on Tuesday, it strengthened against the shekel, reversing a big dip the day before. The U.S. currency edged up 0.1% against the shekel to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.5370, while the euro gained almost 0.2% to NIS 4.7249.

Among the biggest losers on TASE trading, Israel Chemicals finished down 1.5%, snapping a rally that had lifted its shares more than 20%. U.S. fertilizer maker Mosaic Company cut its third-quarter outlook for the price and sales volume of potash and phosphate late on Monday, saying crop nutrient markets had softened in the wake of the breakup of the Belarusian Potash Company. ICL led the most actives on turnover of NIS 116.8 million.

EZchip recovered from speculation that new products by its key customer Cisco would cut deeply into its sales to the company. After dropping by a third over the three previous sessions, EZchip closed 3.7% higher after issuing a clarification yesterday that "to the best of EZchip's knowledge Cisco intends to use EZchip's NP-5 in all key platforms that use the NP-4 today."

Another comeback stock was Perion, which had been pummeled the day before on news of its merger terms with closely held Conduit. The maker of downloadable software rose 7.1% following a 14.1% drop on Monday. Other tech stocks to show strong gains included Allot Communications, which led gainers on the TA-100 with a 5.4% advance, and the biotech company Compugen, which rose 4.8%.

Reuters contributed to this report.

The three Tel Aviv Stock Exchange insiders have been accused of using inside information to reap a personal profit.Credit: Bloomberg

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