Market Report / Global Rally Lifts Tel Aviv Shares

TA-25 index of blue chips rises 0.7% to a close of 1,226.21 points as the broader TA-100 advances nearly 0.9% to 1,096.59, on turnover of about NIS 875 million.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended with strong gains on Tuesday, led by insurance, telecommunications and property shares, as global stock markets rallied.

The TA-25 index of blue chips rose 0.7% to a close of 1,226.21 points as the broader TA-100 advanced nearly 0.9% to 1,096.59, on turnover of about NIS 875 million.

The rise was led by financial stocks, with the TA-Insurance index jumping 1.8% to 1,278.95. Clal Insurance rose more than 4%, trailed by Phoenix and Menorah on gains of 2.6% and 2.2%, respectively.

The Real Estate 15 index advanced 1.1% paced by a 4.1% rise for Property & Building, making it the biggest gainer among TA-100 shares. Telecommunications stocks were led by a 1.6% rise for Partner Communications.

Major European equity indexes rose to new highs on Tuesday, buoyed by financial stocks and expectations that central banks will sustain stimulus measures to support the global economy. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed up 1.8% at 1,189.09, its highest finish in 4-1/2 years, but just short of the February 2011 intra-day peak.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to a new record as well early Tuesday.

In foreign currency trading, the dollar retreated against the shekel on Tuesday slightly to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.732 while the euro gained just over 0.1% to NIS 4.8836.

Gideon Bin Nun of Agio Risk Management said the shekel was retaining its strength because the Bank of Israel did not cut the interest rate for this month. "I don't believe the shekel can retain its strength for much longer. ... The deteriorating situation in Europe and the slowdown in world growth to 3% is likely to move the Bank of Israel closer to adjust interest rates," he said.

Teva Pharmaceuticals rose 1.5% and led the most actives, with NIS 127 million in shares changing hands. Teva said late Tuesday that Phase III clinical trials for its Milprosa vaginal ring used on a weekly basis for women undergoing some kinds of in vitro fertilization is as effective as a vaginal gel that must be applied every day.

Sapiens, which makes software for financial firms, rose 3.5% after it reported that net income attributable to Sapiens' shareholders increased 218% to $3.3 million in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Tomer Appelbaum