Market Report / TA-25 Ends Lower Monday, but Mid-cap Stocks Advance

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s benchmark TA-25 index ended the day 0.3% lower, but IDB Holding continued to bounce back.

The TA-25 index of blue chips finished 0.3% lower at 1,319.64 points on relatively brisk turnover of 1.45 billion shekels ($414 million) Monday. The broader TA-100 fell a narrower 0.1% to 1,207.56 while the TA-MidCap 50 index climbed 0.9% to 571.56.

Electra Consumer Products paced Monday’s declines, dropping 9.3% by closing time on turnover of 102.2 million shekels, making it the most active stock of the day. Leumi Partners – the investment unit of the bank – sold off its 9% stake in the company for 90 million shekels. Leumi Partners will likely post a gain of 25 million to 30 million shekels on the sale.

U.S. stocks were little changed Monday after data showed the pace of growth in the services sector slowed for a second straight month in December, while new orders for U.S. factory goods rebounded in November. Technology stocks kept the benchmark S&P 500 flat after a Morgan Stanley downgrade of the whole sector. 

In late morning trading New York time, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.2% at 16,500.24, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index had added 0.1% to 1,833.26, and the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 0.25% to 4,121.569.

In local foreign currency trading, the dollar slipped 0.06% against the shekel, but remained above 3.50. The U.S. currency’s Bank of Israel rate was set at 3.5020. Against the euro, the shekel lost close to 0.2% to end at 4.7685.

In the fixed-income markets, the government’s 10-year shekel bond rose 0.29% to cut its yield to 3.36%. Its inflation-indexed Galil bond for the same period advanced 0.21%, leaving its yield down to 1.26%. The Tel-Bond indices registered gains of up to 0.7%.

Shares of IDB Holding Corp. recorded another session of double-digit gains on Monday after Tel Aviv District Court Judge Eitan Orenstein rescinded an order delaying transfer of control for the financially beleaguered conglomerate to the Elsztain/Ben-Moshe group. Shares of IDB Holding jumped 24.6%, while its bonds gained as much as 5%.

Biotechnology shares were mostly higher. Pluristem jumped 8.6% Monday after it said that the results of its Phase I/II clinical trial testing the safety and efficacy of Placental eXpanded (PLX) cells for treating muscle injury would be presented January 21.

Mazor Robotics extended its Sunday gains, adding 2.9%, but Compugen sunk 3.3%.

Camtek ended the day 1.3% higher. The company, which makes equipment for the semiconductor industry, said Monday that CEO Roy Porat was stepping down and that Rafi Amit, now chairman, would resume the CEO role he had held until 2010.

Among other gainers, Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments finished up 4.8%, Hadera Paper Mills added 2.9% and Oil Refineries Limited rose 2.8%.

Teva Pharmaceuticals gained 0.7%. Bloomberg News reported that Benny Landa, a key director, said in an email to fellow directors that he supported the prospective appointment of Erez Vigodman as CEO, a move expected to be announced next week.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Daniel Bar-On