Market Report

TA-25 Closes in on Its 2011 Record High

Investors were inspired by a surprise surge in U.S. job growth in October, which drove Wall Street stocks higher on Friday and boosted the dollar.

Tel Aviv shares rose on Sunday in light trading of just NIS 588.3 million, while strong gains by Africa Israel Investments and Partner Communications led the benchmark TA-25 index to within 2% of its all-time record. That index finished 0.2% higher, at 1,113.41 points, closing in on its 2011 peak of 1,338 points. The broader TA-100 index added 0.4%, to 1,191.22 points.

Investors were inspired by a surprise surge in U.S. job growth in October, which drove Wall Street stocks higher on Friday and boosted the dollar. Expectations are that the Federal Reserve could pare back its stimulus program as soon as December.

The price on 30-year U.S. government debt fell more than two full points, pushing yields up to 3.855% from 3.728% on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 1.1% at 15,761.78 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 1.3% to 1,770.61 points and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1.6% to 3,919.23 points.

But European shares edged lower, with France underperforming after a rating downgrade by Standard & Poor's, which cut the French sovereign rating by one notch. The pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading European shares fell 0.14% to close at 1,295.17 points.

In local foreign currency trading, the euro again slid on Friday, losing nearly 0.8% to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 4.7421. The dollar was virtually unchanged, edging down less than 0.03% to NIS 3.5360.

In the fixed-income markets, the drop in U.S. government debt over the weekend drove 10-year government bonds down 0.5% to raise their yield to 3,67%. The government's 10-year inflation-indexed bond dropped 0.38% to boost their yields to 1.52%.

The Tel-Bond 20,40 and 60 indices ended 0.13%, with Elbit Imaging Series Gimmel bonds dropping 7%. Bondholders of Elbit's Plaza Center unit expressed concerns that as the company moves ahead to repay its Polish bondholders, there will be insufficient cash to cover repayments to Israel bondholders.

In TASE equities trading, Partner jumped 9.3% on turnover of NIS 24.5 million after it announced over the weekend a strategic tie-up with closely held Hot Telecom. Bezeq, Israel's biggest telecommunications company and the prospective loser from the alliance, tumbled 4.7% as NIS 36.7 million in shares changed hands. It had the honor of bring the biggest loser among TA-100 stocks and the most active share of the day. B Communications, the company that controls Bezeq, dropped 5.9% and Internet Gold, another of its units, dropped 7.8%.

Africa Israel, Lev Leviev's real estate holding company, soared 6.8% on turnover of NIS 34.3 million after Clal Finance issued a positive recommendation on the shares. Other big gainers included biotech company Photomedex, which jumped 10.1%, and LivePerson, whose software enables businesses to track customers on their websites, added 6.4%, extending gains from last week when it reported a narrower-than-expected loss for the third quarter and reported adding new customers.

Perrigo, the world's biggest maker of over-the-counter drugs, marked its seventh gain in eight sessions, adding 3.8% on turnover of NIS 17.1 million. Mivtach Shamir finished 4.7% higher after Ashtrom Properties said it was selling NIS 30 million of shares in the holding company to its controlling shareholder Meir Shamir.

EZchip suffered its second session of big losses, dropping 3.6%, making it the day's second-biggest loser on the TA-100 index.

With reporting from Reuters.

Bloomberg