Market Report / Israeli Stocks End Dull Session Flat

Tel Aviv stocks ended a dull session with a small negative bias yesterday, on regular turnover of about NIS 1.8 billion. In world markets, oil and the dollar bounced and U.S. stocks gained ground, as upbeat jobs data buoyed optimism. Crude rose above $90 per barrel, reversing from the day before while gold, the perennial safe haven in times of travail, edged down.

European markets were as mixed and sluggish as the Israeli scene. The pan-European index of shares ended flat, with a barely discernible positive bias. UK shares inched up, German stocks dipped, French stocks ended slightly below the flatline and Spanish share prices, in a rare showing of direction yesterday, lost 0.9%. The picture was much the same in Asia, where Hong Kong shares ambled up, Chinese and Japanese stocks ended flat, Indian share prices fell 1% and the strongest regional showing was in Malaysia, where shares gained 0.9%.

Back on the kibbutz, the benchmark TA-25 index of the weightiest 25 stocks inched down 0.1% to 1,332 points, while the broader TA-100 ended a hair under the flatline at 1,235 points. The only index to end in the green was the TelTech-15 index, and that not by much: 0.2%. The Biomed index fell 1.3%, led down by Biocell with a 1.8% loss.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries stock crawled up 0.1% on feeble turnover (for it ) of NIS 60 million. The company yesterday announced the acquisition of Theramex, Merck's European-based women's health-care business, for $351 million.

Shares of the Ofer famiy company Israel Corporation gained 1.1% despite the company's announcement from the previous day that it seems one of its ships, the Shekou cargo ship run by Zim Integrated Shipping Services, collided with a Chinese fishing boat near South Korea, killing nine.

The gas and oil exploration pack was mixed yesterday. Ratio Oil Exploration gained 3.6% while Isramco retreated by 1.8%. Delek Drilling gained 1.6% and Avner, also a member of the Delek Group of companies, gained 2.5%.