Market Report

Stocks mixed as Egypt stir wears on investors.

Stocks were mixed around the world yesterday, and Tel Aviv was no different, as none of the conflicting influences managed to win the day. Wall Street began the day in the red as concerns over mounting disorder in Egypt and signs of exhaustion in the recent market rally weighed on investor sentiment. On the other hand, the dollar gained ground on positive U.S. economic data, which sent oil easing back.

Here in Tel Aviv, the benchmark the TA-25 index eased down 0.1% to 1,299 points and the broader TA-100 index lost 0.3% to 1,208 points. Bank stocks bucked the trend to end 0.7% above the flatline but the Real Estate-15 index of property investment and contracting companies lost 1.5%.

The euro weakened after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet remarked that inflation expectations in the euro zone remain firm, dampening hope of an interest-rate hike any time soon. European shares generally ended lower, which traders ascribed to feeble results from heavyweights Royal Dutch Shell and the bank Santander. Among the European indexes, German shares clawed back to a finish barely in the green.

Over in Asia, Tokyo stocks eased back but all other benchmark indexes ended up.

Summing up the week, Israeli blue chips lost 2.5% in the shadow of the unrest in Egypt, on much heavier than usual turnover. Yesterday’s turnover was again heavy, at NIS 2 billion, but less so than in previous days this week.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries shares lost 1.2% yesterday after warning that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might prohibit imports of products made in its Jerusalem plant.

Natural-gas shares gained ground, but not by any extraordinary degree, as analysts pointed at the opportunity created by the upheaval in Egypt. The supply of gas hasn’t been disrupted, but there is that potential. Delek Drilling gained 2.4%, Avner rose 3.7%, and Isramco gained 1.6%.

Reuters contributed to this report.