Market Report / Gas Partnerships Surge on Mixed Market

Israeli stocks ended an intensely volatile session yesterday mixed, with no clear direction, on heavy turnover. The benchmark TA-25 index of the 25 weightiest stocks inched down to 1,333 points, while the broader TA-100 inched up to end at 1,236 points.

The only index with any discernible bias yesterday was the TelTech-15, which gained 1.4% - led by EZchip (which gained more than 5% ) and Gilat Satellite Networks (which gained 5.6% ). But there were also losers on the technology index, including Ceragon (which fell 1.3% ) and Clal Biotechnology (down 1.5% ). Shamir Optical fell 1.4%.

Total turnover exceeded NIS 2.1 billion, as compared to a daily average of NIS 2 billion in 2010.

Certainly world markets offered no help yesterday in terms of setting any guidelines.

Oil dropped more than 2% in a wider commodities sell-off and Wall Street dipped at the opening as consumer-oriented stocks wilted, thanks to the spike in commodity prices in recent weeks. But in a day filled with mixed signals, safe-haven gold tumbled as investors showed a taste for risk, in ravening search for returns.

Over in Europe, stocks were generally positive, though trading was choppy there as well. The FTSEurofirst-300 pan-European index gained 0.9%, lifted by a 1.9% gain by UK equities as the British finally returned from their holes to the markets.

While French shares gained half a percent, German and Scandinavian indexes inched downward.

Moving onto the Far East, stocks began above water yesterday and stayed there - with the Nikkei benchmark ending 1.7% higher, Hong Kong stocks rising 1.3% and Shanghai shares surging 1.8%.

Gas exploration partners gain ground

Back in the land of Israel, or rather in its territorial waters, shares of the gas and oil exploration partnerships gained ground, though the shares of the general partners in these partnerships dropped. If you want to know why, turn to page 8 for a learned explanation from IBI's Guil Bashan.

So: Delek Energy, a general partner, lost 0.9%.

As for the actual exploration partnerships: Delek Drilling gained 5.2%, Avner gained 5.2% (see chart ), Ratio Oil Exploration gained 4.3%, Isramco advanced by 3.9% and Givot Olam gained 2.6%.

Shares of IDB Holding fell 3.1%, after S&P Maalot announced during the trading day that it was downgrading the company's outlook because of its heavy leverage along with uncertainty about the sale of pesticides maker Makhteshim-Agan Industries. For more on that, see the briefs on Page 8.

Africa Israel Investments stock lost 1.3%, correcting downward after a 10% surge inside two days, following the company's moves to increase liquidity in order to retire NIS 1.1 billion in short-term debt.

With reporting by Reuters and Ram Ozeri.