Tel Aviv stocks got off to a slow start on Sunday, but ended the session with a positive bias nonetheless. The TA-25 index ended 0.2% higher at 783.7 points and the TA-100 index gained the same to 799.8 points. The total volume of trade was a thin half-billion shekels, which is not atypical for a Sunday. Also, players predict that trading activity will remain sluggish until the Jewish holiday season ends.
Foreign investors aren't around right now, say players and the locals are sitting on the fence until the cabinet decides what to do about the 2007 budget.
In the bond market, prices inched up by half a percent for Shahars and 0.2% for index-linked Galils.
Last week the TA-25 index retreated by 2.8%, bringing its loss from the start of the year to 5%.
The banks index rose by 0.9% today, bringing its loss from the start of the year to 9%, of which a ninth was lost last week. The banks are typically the first to suffer from apprehension about economic growth. They did publish strong results for the second quarter of 2006 but the question is about the future. Meanwhile, shares in Bank Leumi gained 1.2% and Bank Hapoalim climbed 0.8% on the day's highest turnover, of NIS 33 million. Bank Discount gained 1% and Mizrahi-Tefahot settled for a gain of 0.6%.
Shares in FMS Migun Enterprises advanced by 4.1% today on enormous turnover of NIS 28.3 million, which was greater than the trading volumes today in Teva and Bank Leumi, for instance. Daniel Blum, FMS' controlling shareholder, sought to regain the market's respect by effectively canceling his deal to sell NIS 60 million worth of shares to Clal Insurance - just weeks before the company admitted to weak second-quarter results, and to a delay in an NIS 70 million contract. Market sources surmise that FMS/Blum knew of the delays but didn't release the news in a timely fashion, waiting instead to publish the second-quarter report.
Anyway, Blum simply bought back the shares from Clal Insurance for the same price the IDB group company had paid, even though since that deal was struck, FMS had lost 30% of its value on the stock exchange. But then, FMS stock had risen by an average of 75% a year from 2001 to 2005. Blum also promised to improve transparency at the company, which makes shielding and armoring, for everything from garb to cars.
Moving onto the dual-listed pack, Teva retreated by 0.5% on turnover of NIS 19 million and Nice Systems gained 1.7% on nice words from Clal Finance Batucha. Radware gained 3.7% on relatively respectable turnover after announcing that it has sought court permission to increase its repurchase of shares from $10 million to $25 million.
Moving onto property stocks, the Tel Aviv Real Estate-15 index inched up by 0.1%. Africa Israel edged up 0.2%, Gazit Globe lost 0.4% and Africa Israel Properties sank 0.5% on heavy turnover of NIS 7.8 million.
Can FITE Biopharma shot up 14.2% on a volume of NIS 2.3 million, after announcing that it would develop its flagship drug CF101 for psoriasis as well. At present it's being developed to treat chronic rheumatoid arthritis.