Market Report / Tech Stocks, Teva Boost TASE

Last week's rally continued on improving sentiment about the economic outlook in the U.S.

Tel Aviv stocks closed higher Sunday as technology shares, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and surging global markets sustained last week's rally.

The TA-25 index of large-caps gained 0.6% to a close of 1,222.7 points on turnover of NIS 691 million. The broader TA-100 index rose 0.8% to 1,097.4 points, while the TA-MidCap 50 rose 1.9% to 524.80.

Technology shares were the session's star performers, with the TA BlueTech 50 advancing 2.4% to 310.91. LivePerson led the gains, jumping 10% and erasing a good part of the 35% slump it suffered after releasing disappointing first-quarter results. Allot Communications rose 4.8% and Mellanox gained 3.9%.

Chip maker EZchip rose 3.6%, building on its 2.6% advance on Thursday, after Cisco said last week that demand for its products is growing. The U.S. company is EZchip's biggest customer, accounting for more than 40% of last year's sales.

Teva rose 1.5% on turnover of nearly NIS 44 million shekels, extending a 4.2% gain from Thursday. Also raising the TASE was Israel Chemicals, which gained 1.5% and was the day's most-traded stock with turnover of NIS 58 million.

Tel Aviv investors bid up prices on Sunday after stocks on both sides of the Atlantic rose to record heights on Friday.

An index measuring U.S. consumer confidence was stronger than economists had expected, as more Americans giving favorable assessments of their financial and economic prospects, particularly among upper-income households. In a separate report by an industry group, a gauge of future economic activity also suggested the expected U.S. slowdown will be temporary, with the index rising in April to a near 5-year high.

The two reports were encouraging after a raft of data on Thursday had suggested U.S. economic growth is cooling. TheDow Jones Industrial Average and benchmark S&P 500 stock index surged to new closing highs in a rally that has pushed bothindices up 17 percent this year.

Major European equity indices climbed to highs last seen five years ago or more, helped by a rally in automakers' shares, which rose on signs of a revival in domestic sales.The FTSEurofirst-300 index of European shares bounced off session lows to rise 0.22% and close at 1,248.18, a five-year closing high.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar soared against major currencies on growing speculation that the Federal Reserve could soon begin to rein in its bond-buying program. Theeuro, which fell to a six-week low on talk the European Central Bank could introduce negative deposit rates, a move that effectively would make banks pay to park their cash overnight with the ECB.

Against the shekel, both currencies were lower on Friday. The dollar was down 0.08% to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.6440 while the Euro lost 0.2% to NIS 4.6870.

Alony Hetz, the real estate investor controlled by Nathan Hetz and Muzi Wertheim, gained 2.3% after it reported a first-quarter profit attributable to shareholders of NIS 43 million, unchanged from a year earlier. Enlight Renewable Energy soared 10.8% after it told the TASE it was in talks with Ormat Industries about buying the latter's photovoltaic business in Israel. Ormat finished 1.5% higher for the day.

Energy shares went against the trend on Sunday, with the TA Oil & Gas index slumping 0.4% 1,166.76. Delek Drilling lost 1.4%, Ratio 1.2%, Avner 1.1% and Isramco 0.8%. But the biggest loser was Zerah, which slumped 6.6% amid reports that it would be forced to raise an additional NIS 10.2 million in capital this week to cover its share of the growing cost of drilling at the Yam-3 site.

With reporting by Reuters.

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