The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was open for trading on Sunday, but virtually no one showed up.
- Who really owns the Dead Sea?
- In surprise move, Lapid vows to block Canadian takeover of Israel Chemicals
- Private Israeli equity fund could become El Al's biggest shareholder
This isn't surprising considering it's an isolated day of trading after a weekend and before a two-day hiatus for the Memorial and Independence Days on Monday and Tuesday. The benchmark TA-25 index ended virtually unchanged, edging up 0.02% to 1,230.35 points while the TA-100 ended down 0.03% at 1,096.08. Turnover was just NIS 523.4 million.
Meanwhile, European shares sank on Friday, reversing nearly half of the week's gains, knocked lower by rekindled worries about Cyprus's bailout plan and an unexpected drop in U.S. monthlyretail sales. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.9% lower at 1,182.10 points, while the Euro Zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 1.5% to 2,633.47.
On Wall Street, stocks closed slightly lower on Friday, retreating from the previous session's record highs on a drop in financial shares, but major indexes have had the biggest weekly gains since the first week of the year. Financial stocks were pressured on Friday by a pair of disappointing results at JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo and a delay in closing a large bank deal.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.3% on Friday at 1,588.86 while theNasdaq Composite Indexwas down 0.2% at 3,294.95.
In foreign currency trading, the dollar gained 0.14% on the shekel on Friday to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.6286 while the Euro lost 0.25% to NIS 4.7430.
Semiconductor company Mellanox jumped 0.9% after Piper Jaffray analyst Andrew Nowinski raised his price target on the stock from $52 to $65. He said a key design win for a new supercomputer would boostMellanox as a subcontractor. The company is also getting a boost fromOracle, one of its biggest customers. Oracle sells Exadata storage systems, which use Mellanox technology, Nowinski added.
Israel Chemicals continued to attract negative attention on the heels of Finance Minister Yair Lapid's stated opposition to the company's proposed sale to Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Canada. ICL dropped 2.9% on Sunday on turnover of NIS 92.6 million, making it the day's most active share and bringing its drop in the past three trading sessions to 10.5%.
ICL's parent company, Israel Corporation, was down 1% as the stock contends with short selling to the tune of NIS 580 million as well as with the impact of Lapid's remarks.
El Al, the Israeli airline, climbed 4.4% after it reported that an agreement was signed over the weekend in which the FIMI private equity fund will gradually take a 47% stake in the carrier. Other top gainers in the TA-100 included software maker Magic, which rose 6.2%, medical electronics company PhotoMedex, up 5.5%, and Allot Communications, up 2.6%.
With reporting by Reuters.