Although the signals from the United States and Europe were positive on Wednesday, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange nevertheless ended marginally lower.
The TA-25 index of blue-chip stocks finished at 1,214.92 points, a drop of 0.2%, while the broader TA-100 ended 0.1% down at 1,084.72. Turnover was a relatively brisk NIS 986.3 million.
Wall Street was higher overnight, and European bonds, shares and the euro all rose Wednesday after solid demand at an auction of Italian government debt helped calm fears that a political stalemate in Rome could reignite the bloc’s debt crisis.
Though paying more than half a point more interest than before its election, Italy sold all 6.5 billion euros of the five- and 10-year bonds two days after the vote. It could have chosen to sell less.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.2% as gains of 0.4% in Milan’s FTSE MIB and Madrid’s IBEX helped it recover some of Tuesday’s sharp falls.
In foreign currency trading, the dollar dropped 0.1% against the shekel to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.728. The euro was virtually unchanged against the Israeli currency at NIS 4.886.
Partner Communications reported weaker-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter of 2012 and said the outlook for 2013 was poor due to fierce competition that has forced it to slash calling rates. Quarterly net profit was NIS 102 million, less than the NIS 111 million forecast by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Partner was the first of the cell-phone operators to post earnings, but it had little effect on shares. Partner itself was down by just 0.5% for the day, while Cellcom Israel edged up 0.04% on heavy turnover of NIS 18.8 million, and Bezeq was off 0.6%.
Among energy shares, ILDC Energy’s extraordinary rally on Wednesday came to an abrupt halt as its shares plunged 45% on turnover of NIS 20 million. The stock underwent a dramatic turnaround in the course of the day, rising 29% in the morning before reversing course. In the previous two sessions, the stock had jumped 173%.