Market Report / Tel Aviv Saved From Red by Biomed

TA-25 index lost 0.2% after a fairly choppy session to 1,074 points; tech stocks were flat to negative and TA-Biomed index jumped 2.2%.

Tel Aviv stocks were mixed yesterday on double the usual turnover, but the reason wasn't a sudden spate of confidence among investors. It was because the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was carrying out its periodic rebalancing - adding and detracting companies from the indexes.

That in turn means that funds investing by the index (not actively picking stocks but buying based on index composition) had to fiddle with their portfolios, selling the companies tossed off the indexes and buying the ones that were added.

Thus total turnover surged to NIS 1.9 billion, compared with the puny levels of a billion-plus-a-bit that have characterized recent months. It also explains the selective trading yesterday.

The benchmark TA-25 index lost 0.2% after a fairly choppy session to 1,074 points. The broader TA-100 index eased 0.1% to 977 points. The index tracking dividend stocks gained 0.5%, tech stocks were flat to negative and the TA-Biomed index jumped 2.2%.

Why did it do that? Because a host of companies jumped like rabbits - Aposense surged 13%, Brainsway climbed 7%, Biomedix finished 9.4% in the green and Collplant gained more than 8%. There were losers: Evogene lost 2.4%, and Glycominds tumbled 7.4%.

Certainly the direction in Tel Aviv didn't come from Europe, where markets sank in tandem and the euro hit an 11-month low against the dollar, sinking below $1.30 yesterday. Investors can't get past concerns that there's no clear solution to saving the euro zone.

French shares led the pack south with losses of more than 3%, but the rest were nipping at Paris' heels. Spanish stocks suffered the least, with the benchmark Madrid General Index losing 1.8%.

Among the gainers in Tel Aviv was Israel Chemicals with a 4% leap after UBS analyst Roni Biron repeated a Buy rating for the stock. But he lowered his 12-month price target to NIS 54 from NIS 60 because prices of potash - a key export for ICL - have been trending down.

Dual-listed Radvision shot up nearly 18% on rumors it's about to be eaten by Avaya, for $300 million.