Market Report / TA-25 Down 0.8% for the Week

Banks climb 0.6% yesterday, energy shares up 0.9%.

Stocks fell to end the trading week yesterday on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, following Wall Street's losing lead on Wednesday. European and other global stock markets were little changed yesterday, but remained near 17-month highs.

The benchmark TA-25 index lost 0.46% to close at 1,220.46 points, and the broader TA-100 index fell 0.31% to end the day at 1,076.81 points. The blue-chip TA-25 spent the entire day in the red, but a number of sectors were in the green for the day: The Real Estate-15 index rose 0.4% and the Oil and Gas Exploration index gained 0.9%. The TA-Banks index rose 0.6%. On the down side, the TA-Technology index fell 0.8%.

Turnover was higher than in recent days, but still a bit on the low side at NIS 1.054 billion. For the week, the TA-25 and TA-100 fell 0.8% and 0.6% respectively, while bank shares climbed 2.6% and real estate stocks gained 2.3% for the week. The technology indexes were the big losers, down 0.8% as Mellanox Technologies lost 4.6% for the week as well as EZchip Semiconductor, which fell 2.5% this week. The TA-Insurance climbed 2.5% this week, pulled up by Clal Insurance and Menorah-Mivtachim.

Africa-Israel Investments lost 4% yesterday and Discount Investments fell 3.6%. Frutarom climbed 4.5% and Paz Oil gained 4.2%.

Large-cap corporate bonds were almost unchanged for the day.

Dollar at lowest point since April

The dollar lost more ground against the shekel yesterday, down 0.1%, and the representative rate was set at NIS 3.747 - its lowest level since April 10. The euro also fell 0.2% against the local currency to a representative rate of NIS 4.970.

The research department of FXCM Israel said the dollar's fall in world markets has been halted, but it seems only temporarily. In the long run the conditions are against the dollar. The risk-loving atmosphere of an end-of-the-year rally, as well as a fourth round of quantitative easing by the U.S. Federal Reserve in the United States, should weaken the dollar, said the analysts at FXCM.

In global forex markets, the euro edged lower against the dollar yesterday in volatile trading as worries over U.S. budget negotiations outweighed generally positive U.S. economic data that had earlier boosted the market's appetite for risk-taking. Concerns about U.S. policymakers not being able to reach a resolution on the "fiscal cliff" dogged the currency market. A combination of tax hikes and spending cuts could kick in early next year if U.S. legislators fail to reach a fiscal deal, a scenario that could push the world's largest economy into recession. A U.S. budget agreement is deemed positive for growth-linked currencies such as the euro and Australian dollar, but viewed as negative for the safe-haven dollar.

U.S. markets barely reacted to a round of strong data, including an upward revision of gross domestic product growth and stronger-than-expected home sales, suggesting talks to avert the "fiscal cliff," steep tax hikes and spending cuts due in 2013, remain the primary focus for markets.

Reuters contributed to this report.