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Strong Economic Data Lift Shares

Dror Raich
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Dror Raich

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange opened the week in negative territory Sunday but rebounded on the news of surprisingly strong 5.1% annualized growth for the economy in the second quarter, lifting the leading indices to finish the day with light gains. Traders shrugged off events in Egypt.

The blue-chip TA-25 index and the benchmark TA-100 index each gained 0.2% for the day to 1,207.24 points and 1,100.97 points, respectively. Overall trading turnover was a thin NIS 450 million.

"At this point we don't believe the disturbances in Egypt will have any effect on trading in Israel," commented Assaf Shaul, deputy CEO for investments at Alfa Platinum Mutual Funds.

"The global environment looks relatively positive with continued growth in most trading blocs except Europe, where the first signs of stabilization can be seen in advance of positive growth in 2014. A gradual improvement in the global environment is likely to lead to growth in world trade, including Israeli exports," he said.

U.S. stocks fell slightly on Friday, and the Dow industrials posted the biggest weekly loss this year as rising bond yields hurt shares paying rich dividends and earnings from retailers disappointed investors. The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 0.2% at 15,081.47. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index finished 0.3% lower at 1,655.83 and the Nasdaq Composite Index was 0.1% down at 3,602.78.

U.S. bond yields rose to two-year highs on Friday as investors worried the Federal Reserve will start scaling back stimulus next month, while world share indices registered their biggest weekly fall in almost two months. The 10-year Treasury note was last down 18/32 in price, its yield at 2.8288 percent.

In foreign currency trading, the dollar lost 0.3% against the shekel on Friday trading to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.5620. The euro added about 0.12% to NIS 4.7511.

Biotech companies led shares higher, with the TA-Biomed index up a sharp 2.2% to 946.52. Compugen climbed 7.4%, extending a rally that was set off by a tie-up with Bayer HealthCare earlier this month. Other gainers included Mazor Robotics, which rose 4% by close; Pluristem, which added 3.1%; and Prolor Biotech, which advanced 3.6%.

Technology shares also preformed well. Orbit Technologies, a maker of satellite-based telecom systems, gained 3.2% after reporting winning a defense contract from an unnamed East Asia country worth an estimated NIS 22 million. Telecom equipment maker Ceragon Networks jumped 10.8%, Nice Systems added 3.1% and AUdiocodes 6.6%.

Clal Insurance rose 1.7%, buoyed by NIS 140 million second-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders, turning around from a NIS 127 million loss the year before. The company collected NIS 122 million in variable management fees for profit-sharing life insurance policies, a fee the company didn't charge last year. The company took a one-time NIS 83 million charge last year due to the release of updated life insurance actuarial tables.

Shares in the Ofer family's mall-operating firm Melisron jumped 2.6% despite its reporting a 8% drop in revenues to NIS 306 million in the second quarter. The decline, however, was mainly due to the sale of the Renanim and Savyonim malls at the beginning of April and the sale of its rights to the Ikea property in Netanya last October. Net operating income dropped 6.2% NIS 240 million from a year ago.

The number of companies traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to pay a dividend rose more than 13% last year.Credit: Ariel Schalit

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