Market Report

Blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index Nears All-time High

Mixed day on TASE as Alon Blue Square soared 11.5% amid talk of a Mega buy, but oil and gas shares dropped.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed mixed with a positive bias Monday on higher than usual turnover, as the blue-chip Tel Aviv 25 Index closed a mere 11 points from the all-time high set in April 2011. Positive winds blew through Europe and the United States as well, lifting the Dow Jones average to an all-time high, and amid reports that China would be instituting reforms to make its economy - the world’s second largest - more open.

The Tel Aviv-25 gained 0.5% to close at 1,334 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index gained 0.3% to close at 1,207 points. Biomed shares lost, dropping 0.7%, while real estate shares gained 0.9%. Oil and gas shares dropped 2.1%, pulled downward by Ratio Oil Exploration, Avner and Delek Drilling.

Total turnover was NIS 1.5 billion, significantly above the average of late.

In Europe, German utilities pushed European shares to fresh highs Monday, while equity investors were encouraged by data showing an improved economic outlook for the region and the continued supply of cheap funds. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei held steady near a six-month high as profit taking in outperformers like Toyota Motor Corp. and mobile operator KDDI Corp. offset the gains in financials.

Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong posted their biggest gain in nearly two years Monday, led by nonbanking financial and consumer counters as investors cheered Beijing’s announcement of its most sweeping economic and social reforms in decades.

Back in Israel, Ratio - one of the partners in the Leviathan offshore natural gas prospect - lost 6.8% Monday, apparently due to the partners’ decision to delay drilling for oil at the site indefinitely. Partners Avner and Delek Drilling also lost about 3%. However, a source close to the partnership said that the drilling was not being delayed because no date had ever been set for it.

Alon Blue Square gained 11.5% Monday, on top of its 5% gain from Sunday. The company is negotiating with a former executive at European grocery giant Carrefour to sell a controlling share in grocery store chain Mega at a valuation of NIS 1 billion.

Financial reports season continued, and Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot presented profits of NIS 301 million for the third quarter - 15.8% more than in the parallel quarter last year.

DS Meitav shares dropped 5.1%. Direct Insurance sold its full holding in the company for a profit on Sunday, for a total of NIS 99 million.

Clal Insurance, meanwhile, reported net profit attributed to shareholders of NIS 408 million for the first nine months of the year. It lost 0.4% on Moncay.

With reporting by Reuters.

Ofer Vaknin