Tel Aviv Stocks Finished Choppy Wednesday in the Green

Banks reversed from a four-day slump, Discount rose 0.7% as Bronfman took the reins

Asaf Rothem
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Asaf Rothem

Tel Aviv stocks finished a choppy day with gains on Wednesday, ending a four-day streak in the red. The banks forged ahead, reversing from a substantial dip: their index advanced by 0.9% to 1,290 points.

The TA-25 index gained 0.5% to 827 points, the TA-100 index rose the same to 848 points and the TelTech-15 index inched ahead by 0.1%. Turnover remained heavy at NIS 1.05 billion.

Today was the first extended trading day. The session ended a quarter-hour later than usual, at 17:30.

Wall Street seemed unmoved by Alan Greenspan's 25-bp rate hike last night, though he hinted that American interest rates may continue to rise. Though the increase in the U.S. funds rate had been universally expected, it is not good news for Israeli stocks. Lukewarm investment ratings by UBS and Deutsche Bank weren't good news either and the losses in the four trading days preceding Wednesday all but wiped out the positive "January effect". Banks lost 8% of their value, and real estate, which soared in January, sank by 6%.

In the bond market, prices rose by about 0.2% to 0.3%.

The liveliest stock on the floor was Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI), which edged down by 0.2%. Leumi (TASE: LUMI) on the other hand charged ahead by 2.3%.

Moving onto Bank Discount, it rose 0.7% as control of the bank officially passed to Matthew Bronfman today.

Tower Semiconductors (Nasdaq, TASE: TSEM) shared the news that 2005 brought its biggest annual loss ever: $203 million for the year 2005, yet its stock soared by 6.1%. The reason is that the bleeding fab had two highly positive messages for investors in its financial statement: one is that it achieved positive Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) and the other, that its fourth-quarter revenues shot up 51% against the previous quarter to $31 million.

Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE, LSE: PTNR) on the other hand retreated 2.8% after publishing its quarterly and annual financial statements. Revenues in 2005 reached NIS 5.12 billion, but that was down from NIS 5.14 billion the year before, a drop of 0.3%. Fourth-quarter revenues amounted to NIS 1.26 billion, down 7% from NIS 1.35 billion in the previous quarter. Seasonal effects, Partner explained.

Gazit Globe added 0.4% on top of its 5% climb on Tuesday, after announcing a sweeping investment plan for 2006 and 2007, which includes investing $1.5 billion in European real estate, and possibly penetrating the Asian property markets.

AudioCodes (Nasdaq, TASE: AUDC) met its guidance, it said on Tuesday, and gained 2.1%.

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