Market Report / Shares Flat on Heavy Volume

Israeli stocks ended flat as a pita yesterday, after breaking records in four of the last seven trading days. The benchmark TA-25 was unchanged, closing at 1,314 points and the TA-100 inched down, ending a hair under the flatline at 1,214. The Banks-5 index reversed from morning gains to shed 0.7% while the Real Estate-15 didn't budge. But while overseas markets are fairly quiescent volume-wise as Christmas approaches, over here the trading volume was heavy at NIS 2.3 billion.

"In midday, equities turned down following unfounded rumors regarding results at Leviathan," said a player, referring to a deep-sea exploration site fondly hoped to have gigantic quantities of natural gas. But by closing investors had come to their senses and had begun buying again, he said.

The liveliest stock on the floor was Israel Chemicals, which sprang up 3.2% on turnover of NIS 284 million following a presentation to investors.

In world markets, oil receded a tiny bit to $89.33 per barrel as jitters about euro-zone debt overcame pre-holiday cheer and gold traded flat. Shares gained ground in U.S. markets and mining stocks pushed up European indexes to a 27-month closing high. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 of top shares ended up 1.1%. Asian shares also advanced.

Other Israeli shares that stood out included the Leviathan pack, Ratio, Delek Drilling and Avner. All lost ground, but not much, indicating perhaps a degree of nerves ahead of the partnership's anticipated progress report, due by month-end. (With reporting by Lior Zeno and Reuters)