Teva Climbs Another 1.4%

The trading week on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange began with losses yesterday. The day started off in the green in the wake of gains on Wall Street at the end of last week, but as the day wore on, the screens turned red as bank shares pulled the major indexes down.

The benchmark TA-25 index lost 0.4% to close at 1,293 points and the broader TA-100 index also fell 0.4% to end the day at 1,194 points. Both indexes retreated somewhat after almost touching the psychological barriers of 1,300 and 1,200 points last week.

The Banks-5 index fell 1.2% yesterday, with the First International Bank of Israel dropping 2.8%, Mizrahi-Tefahot Banks off 2.2%, and Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi both down 1.1%. The Real Estate-15 was down 0.3% for the day. The TelTech-15 and Biomed indexes bucked the trend, rising 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

Turnover was a bit low, even for a Sunday, at just under NIS 1.2 billion.

Hapoalim analysts forecast continued gains for local shares, noting the blue chip TA-25 has fallen in December only three times since 1993. Leumi economists also said short-term gains on the TASE are likely, based on the strength and stability of the Israeli economy - and a lack of attractive alternative investments.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries rose 1.4% after climbing 7% on Thursday. The share had yesterday's largest turnover, more than 10% of the TASE's total volume, at NIS 121 million. Teva made its big gains following the success of its Stage III clinical trials for its oral Laquinimod drug for treating multiple sclerosis.

Isramco Negev rose 1.4% after it announced it was negotiating to drill at its Shimshon offshore field, and would not be giving up its license rights. (See story, Page 8. ) Oil and gas exploration shares Modiin energy and Lapidoth Heletz dropped 9.3% and 9.4% respectively.

Industrial Building Corp. lost 1.2% on news it would be seling a building in Toronto. (See story, Page 8. )

Hetehof plunged 10.3% after it revealed its bankers had "restricted its bank accounts under aggravated circumstances." (See story, Page 8. )

The start of the flu season is certainly good for BiondVax, which is developing a universal influenza vaccine. The share climbed 12.7% yesterday.