Market Report / Stocks Ease Back on Paper-thin Volume

Shares of the gas and exploration oil pack barely react to third successive sabotage attack on Egypt-Israel natural gas pipeline.

Tel Aviv stocks yesterday closed a dull trading day mixed with a negative bias, on paper-thin turnover of NIS 1.1 billion. Shares of the gas and exploration oil pack barely reacted to the third successive sabotage attack on the Egypt-Israel natural gas pipeline.

Why didn't the gas and oil investors react more strongly? Because as far as they were concerned, nothing much happened.

Ofer Nimrodi
Moti Milrod

"It's the third time in a row," Uriel Goren, head of the international client desk at DS Securities told TheMarker. "People are basically not counting on the Egyptian gas supply."

As for the wee turnover, traders ascribed it mainly to U.S. markets being closed for the 4th of July: Investors want direction from Wall Street, suggests Meitav investment manager Roni Mashiach.

The benchmark TA-25 index lost 0.3% to close on 1,249 points, while the broader TA-100 index fell 0.2% to 1,140 points. Bank stocks gained ground and energy shares were mixed. The indexes tracking corporate bonds each gained about 0.2%, bringing their gain from the start of the month to 0.7%. Bonds of Discount Investment gained 0.3%, lowering their yields to 5.13%.

While New York closed to trading for the day, European share prices gained ground on the new-found relief that Greece's problems will be solved, at least for the nonce. Gains were narrow, however, from a hair above the flatline in Paris to 0.5% in London and 0.7% in Stockholm. Spanish share prices eased back 0.3%.

Asian share prices bounced strongly upwards, with gains ranging from 2% in Hong Kong to 0.6% in Karachi. According to Reuters, however, expectations that the rally will persist are dim, barring a substantial upswing in the major economies. Oil stood steady yesterday but trading was thin because of the U.S. Independence Day holiday. The euro slipped from one-month highs against the dollar after Standard & Poor's said the debt rollover plan being considered for Greece could put the country into selective default.

Onto Israeli shares: The liveliest stock on the floor was Israel Chemicals, which eased down by 0.3% on turnover of nearly NIS 100 million.

IDB Holding Corporation stock gained 4.2%, bringing its gain over three trading days to 20%. But turnover remains very small - NIS 2.6 million a day on average.

ILD Energy dropped 8.4% on heavy turnover of NIS 83 million. On Sunday, ILD Energy lost 11%. In three trading days, the company's market capitalization has fallen by 40% and its controlling shareholder Ofer Nimrodi is out NIS 400 million, on paper of course. Roni Mashiach suggests the pullback in the stock is the result of uncertainty.

Spacecom shares fell 2.6% as the company announced another possible delay in launching the Amos 5 satellite because of a technical problem. The launch had already been delayed once, to the end of 2011.

Bank Leumi shares gained 0.7%. The bank advised investors in a late-night announcement Sunday that it had put off selling a 1% stake in Israel Corporation until the time was ripe. This follows reports that the bank plans to sell 3-4% of Israel Corporation's stock during this quarter.

Shares of Internet and communications provider Netvision eased down 0.4% and no, says the company, in contrast to certain media reports and the announcement on its own Web site, it is not raising its prices for the third time in three months.