Market Report / Stocks Retreat on Brisk Trading

Tel Aviv stocks lost ground yesterday on brisk trading in a retreat led by tech stocks. The session was marked by choppy trading but in any case the leading indexes spent the whole day below water, clawing back some lost ground in late afternoon. Global markets set the trend, with equities in retreat almost throughout the globe, from the shores of western Europe to Asia - with the exception of China, where stocks traded upward, and Japan.

European stocks snapped an eight-day upward trend but analysts suggested the downtick was technical in nature. The uptrend trend remains intact, they said, despite the half-percent retreat by the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index. Volume was low, a good sign as far as investors are concerned. A downturn on heavy volume could portend a decisive retreat.

Gold continued to hover in the stratosphere, range-bound as investors weighed the news of Osama bin Laden's death against other factors, including low interest rates in the United States and global inflation concerns.

Back in Tel Aviv, the worst-hit index was the TA-technology, which fell 2.4%. The losers included defense electronics company Elbit Systems, which fell 1.9%, and EZChip, down 3%.

The biggest loser in the technology index was Internet platforms company Liveperson, which yesterday reported a 40% increase in net profit for the first quarter to $5 million. Revenues had increased 20% year over year to $30.4 million. But its forecast for second-quarter sales, $31.3 million to $31.8 million, dismayed: The market had expected the range to start at the upper end of that guidance. And that may explain why its stock tumbled nearly 9% in Tel Aviv yesterday.

Biomed stocks were mixed: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries shares fell 1.4% as the market digests the latest developments and analysts argue about the giant pharma's merits. D Medical leaped 40% (see page 8 ). Itamar Medical rose 9.1%, starting low and gaining ground all day. One wonders why. The company didn't make any announcements.

Delek Energy shares lost 1.8% on low turnover: Evidently investors don't feel the loss of Yoram Turbowicz as chairman spells disaster. (See page 12 ). (With reporting by Reuters)