Market Report / TA-25 Extends Gains, With Alon Blue Square Rallying

Alon Blue Square plans to launch a new discount brand and streamline logistics for its Mega supermarkets.

Tel Aviv shares ended higher on Sunday, the sixth gain in seven trading days, lifted by record highs on Wall Street and the rally in telecoms stocks.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's TA-25 index of blue chips closed at 1,221.00 points, while the broader TA-100 finished at 1,101.77, a gain of 0.5% for both. Turnover was a bit more active than usual for a Sunday – NIS 504.2 million in shares changing hands.

Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index ended Friday at record closing highs, even though the gains for the day were slim. The Dow edged up 0.02% to close at 15,464.30, while the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 1,680.19.

European shares edged lower on Friday, with mixed economic data and renewed concerns about the political risks in the euro zone prompting investors to lock in profits at the end of the market's best week since April. The FTSEurofirst 300 closed 0.1% lower at 1,195.45 points, trimming gains for the week to 2.7%.

In foreign currency trading Friday, the dollar continued its downturn, losing 0.22% to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.6070. The euro did even worse, shedding more than 0.4% to NIS 4.7046.

In TASE trading Sunday, Alon Blue Square was the standout, jumping 7.4% on news it planned to launch a new discount brand and streamline logistics for its Mega supermarkets in a bid to win back market share. There were also reports that U.S investors had put out feelers to buy a quarter of the company.

With its market segment probably under assault, shares of discount supermarket chain Rami Levy dropped 1.9%. Market leader Super-Sol was down 1.2%.

Oil and gas shares led the market, with the index up 1.75% to 1,125.50. The Karish gas field partners reported preliminary findings for some NIS 4 billion of condensate, lifting shares of Delek Drilling and Avner 1.7%. Their parent company, Delek Group, advanced 2.6%. Other energy shares performed even better, with Shemen jumping 11.6% and Isramco adding 2.1%.

In telecommunications stocks, Bezeq extended last week's rally, adding 0.9% to its 4.5% rise Thursday. It was the most heavily traded stock of the day with turnover of NIS 38.7 million. Partner Communications jumped 3.9%.

Insurance stocks also rallied, led by Menorah with a 1.8% gain followed by advances of 1.5% for Clal Insurance and 1.2% for Phoenix. Arbitrage stocks rose in the wake of Friday's Wall Street gains. EZchip was ahead 2.8%, Gilat 2%, Ceragon 2.3% and Protalix Biotherapeutics 2.1%.

With reporting by Reuters.

Tomer Appelbaum