Market Report / U.S. Jobs Growth Lifts Tel Aviv Stocks

The TA-25 index of blue chips closed 0.5% higher at 1,216.39 points, and the broader TA-100 added 0.5% to 1,079.98 on unusually low turnover of NIS 607 million.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange ended higher on Sunday as the market celebrated a positive U.S. jobs report released over the weekend and downplayed a warning from Mellanox that profits would be less than expected in the last quarter of 2012.

The TA-25 index of blue chips closed 0.5% higher at 1,216.39 points, and the broader TA-100 added 0.5% to 1,079.98 on unusually low turnover of NIS 607 million. Technology and finance shares were lower, however, with the TA-technology index down 0.3% to 330.14 and the TA-Banking Index off 0.3% to 1,171.23.

Traders were inspired by the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index, which ended at a five-year high on Friday, lifted by reports showing U.S. employers kept up a steady pace of hiring workers and the vast services sector expanded at a brisk rate.

The U.S. Labor Department said non-farm payrolls grew by 155,000 jobs last month, slightly below November's level. Gains were distributed broadly throughout the economy, from manufacturing and construction to health care. Also serving to boost equities was data from the Institute for Supply Management showing U.S. service sector activity expanding the most in 10 months.

In Tel Aviv, Mellanox ended 3.1% on volume of NIS 16.8 million, after the semiconductor company's U.S.-traded shares recovered quickly on Friday from a plunge the day before. On Wednesday, Mellanox said revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 would be in the range of $119 million to $121 million, down from previous guidance of $145 million to $150 million. The report promoted downgrades from Harel Finance and UBS.

Two other tech shares, however, ended sharply lower. Allot Communications dropped 8.3% by close, the biggest loser on the TA-100, after Oppenheimer downgraded the company from a market Outperform to a market Perform.

"Our checks point to slowing demand in Europe and an early completion of several projects in the U.S. leading to a revenue gap," Oppenheimer said.

Cerragon Networks plummeted almost 6%, making it the second-biggest loser on the TA-100. The wireless backhaul company said it would have to defer booking between $11 million and $14 million of revenue from 2012 to 2013 after a major customer imposed additional procedures before accepting delivery of equipment the company supplied.

IDB Holding Corporation jumped 7.2% and Discount Investment Corporation by 3.2%. IDB Development Corporation, the closely held company that stands between the two other Nochi Danker holdings, is weighing the sale of its 55% stake in Clal Insurance to sister company Koor. The move would ease Dankner's liquidity problems.

Migdal rose 1.8% to NIS 5.79, recovering from a 2.6% drop on Thursday after Bank Leumi sold a 4.65% stake in the company to institutional investors for NIS 5.72 a share.

Food retailer Super-Sol rose 2.3% after it said it would move its NIS 2 billion in real estate assets, including the land occupied by 68 of its stores, to a wholly owned subsidiary in the first quarter. Liat Glazer of Excellence Brokerage said the move marked the first step toward either selling the assets or floating the unit.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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