Market Report / Stocks Amble Nowhere on Vanishing Turnover

Tel Aviv stocks went nowhere in particular yesterday on turnover that sank to near-microscopic proportions of less than a billion shekels. Blue chips were mixed with a negative bias, technology stocks were mixed with a positive bias and bank stocks were mixed with a tendency to the red. Oil and gas exploration companies rebounded north. If the session was characterized by anything it was selectivity, as reports season kicks in.

Maybe it was the rain that disheartened investors or maybe it was the news that Europe's banks are gearing up to fire tens of thousands of employees. Some 200,000 people have lost their jobs in the global finance sector since the start of this year alone, the wire services reported yesterday. Although Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer reiterated yesterday that Israel's economy is still in strong shape, it won't stay that way for long if the world economy spirals south, analysts point out.

The benchmark TA-25 index lost 0.4% to 1,112 points and the broader TA-100 index lost 0.2% to 1,008 points. Among the stocks that stood out yesterday were Ratio Oil Exploration with a 2% gain on the day's second-biggest turnover, following its 9% drop the day before; and Cellcom, which lost 3%.

IDB group stocks had a bad day after Koor reported heavy losses for the third quarter of 2010 (See the report on Page 12 ). IDB Holding, the company at the top of the holdings pyramid, lost 2.2%. Hadera Paper, which reported a shift to the red (Page 8 ) fell 1.8%. Koor itself fell 1.3%: Maybe it's some comfort to the group's investors that Credit Suisse stock, the source of Koor's elephantine losses, gained 0.1%.

The liveliest stock on the floor was Israel Chemicals, which lost 1.7% on low turnover of NIS 67 million.

Shares of Elbit Systems gained 2.8% even though the company's third-quarter revenues and profit, posted yesterday, missed the forecasts. These things happen. Quarterly revenues rose to $664 million, but analysts had been expecting $50 million more than that. Profit ex-items rose 4% to $56.4 million.

With reporting by Eran Azran.