Market Report / TASE Has a Mixed May Day

Local shares had no direction to follow from Europe.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished Wednesday's trading session mixed with a negative bias, as the main benchmarks reversed course mid-session to close with losses.

The blue-chip Tel Aviv-25 Index dropped 0.2% to close at 1,204 points, while the broader Tel Aviv-100 Index also lost 0.2% to close at 1,081 points. The Banks-5 was up 1.4% during the course of trading but ultimately closed with losses of 0.15%, while the Real Estate-15 gained 0.7%. Total turnover was a relatively low NIS 956 million.

Local shares had no direction to follow from Europe, where most indexes were on break for a public holiday. The only exchange open for business was Britain. Over the sea, shares opened with losses on Wall Street.

Among the notable local gainers Wednesday were the oil and gas shares, whose index gained 3.67% on the announcement that the partners in Leviathan believe Israel's largest offshore gas reserve contains 11% more natural gas than previously thought -- 19 trillion cubic feet instead of 17 TCF.

The shekel continued gaining strength against the dollar, closing at an exchange rate of NIS 3.57 to the dollar. On Tuesday, the Bank of Israel scooped up $100 million during ongoing trading in an attempt to push down the shekel's value. It did not intervene Wednesday.

IDB Holding Corp gained 1.5% Wednesday, a day after a court ruled that Nochi Dankner could continue managing the group, in partnership with court-appointed external auditors. The company is currently battling bondholders who are trying to force it to reorganize its debt. IDB Group company Discount Investments gained 6.4%.

Translation software company Babylon lost 1.4% Wednesday, a day after outgoing CEO Alon Carmeli cashed in on a significant chunk of options granted in April 2011. Another two executives also cashed in on NIS 4 million in options each. The share's total turnover was NIS 60 million, five times the usual volume.

Satellite technology company Orbit Technologies gained 7% on its announcement Wednesday that it'd been chosen by a customer in the earth observation field to provide several land surveying systems for low-earth orbit satellites. The deal is worth some NIS 9 million.

Medical device company Brainsway gained 7.8% during trading to ultimately close down 2.7%. The company announced Wednesday that it is poised to launch commercial sales of its Deep TMS depression treatment device in the United States.

Other notable shares included Israel Chemicals, which lost 1%; Bezeq, which lost 1.9%; Mellanox, down 2.4%; and Bank Hapoalim, off 0.8%. Meanwhile, Nice gained 2% and Discount Bank gained 1.4%.
 

Olivier Fitoussi