Market Report / Trader’s Error Briefly Sinks Israel Corp. Shares

Errors aside, trading was light and biotech had a good day, with Mazor Robotics soaring 8.5% and Compugen up 7.8%.

Oops was the word yesterday when a trader’s error apparently caused the benchmark TA-24 index to briefly drop 2.4% in the early afternoon. The market quickly steadied itself, however, to end down moderately in light trading.

A trader entered an order for shares in the Israel Corporation at 99% below the market prices at about 12:20 P.M., setting off a wave of stop-loss sell orders. Since Idan Ofer's holding company comprises a little over 2% of the TA-25, the index went down with it. Israel Corp. recovered from the drop and closed the day down about 1.1%.

The TA-25 ended the session below 1,200 for the first time since July 4, falling 0.2% at 1,198.56 points. The broader TA-200 was barely changed, off 0.02% by the end of the day at 1,095.01. Turnover was NIS 461 million, a relatively strong figure for a Sunday in August.

In contrast to much of the market, biotech shares rallied, led by Mazor Robotics, which soared 8.5% by closing time on turnover of NIS 15.5 million, tracking its rise on Wall Street over the weekend. Other biotech stocks to show big gains included Compugen, up 7.8%, Clal Biomedical, up 5.1%, and Photmedix, up 4.1%.

Benchmark stock indexes around the world edged higher on Friday, while the dollar fell after a United States government report on new single-family home sales raised doubts about the timing and extent of cuts to the Federal Reserve's stimulus program.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3% to 15,010.51, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 1,663.50 and the Nasdaq Composite add 0.5% to 3,657.792. Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.4% to1,223.65. A rebound in Asia and Europe helped push MSCI's global share index up 0.8%, although it was not enough to prevent it heading for its third weekly fall.

In foreign currency trading on Friday, the dollar edged 0.03% higher to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.5880 while the euro strengthened some 0.3% to NIS 4.7893.

Among companies reporting earnings yesterday, Osem dropped 0.9% even as it reported that second-quarter net profit rose 4% to NIS 90.1 million, boosted by higher sales due to the timing of the Passover holiday and a decline in administrative expenses. Industrial Buildings dropped 0.3% after it reported late on Thursday a slight drop in income to NIS 167 million in the second quarter from the same time a year earlier. Net profit attributable to shareholders was NIS 30 million, versus a loss of NIS 51 million a year earlier.

Discount supermarket chain Rami Levi declined 2.4%,extending a 1.2% drop last Thursday. The declines came even though the food retailer reported a strong second quarter by every parameter, including revenue, same-store sales, operating profit and net profit.

Among top gainers, online translation company Babylon jumped 4.4%. Avgol, the maker of non-woven fabrics, led TA-100 shares lower for the day on a 4.8% decline while Ceragon fell 2.3%. Bank shares were also mostly lower, led by a 1.2% drop for Leumi. Mizrahi Tefahot Bank ended down 1% and Bank Hapoalim fell 0.9% by the close.

Elbit Imaging, Motti Zisser's financially troubled real estate development company, climbed 17% after its bondholders reached a new bailout agreement that improves collateral for creditors.

Reuters contributed to this report.