Market Report / Another Up Week as Israeli Bonds Overtake U.S.

After a long stretch of stability for most of the trading day, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) saw declines in the last hour yesterday that led it to close the week in the red.

The TA-25 lost 0.9 percent yesterday to close at 1,115 points, but the index still managed to finish the week up 0.7 percent. The TA-100 lost 1 percent for the day yesterday to end trading at 1,101 points - up 0.2 percent for the week. The TelTech-15 lost 0.3 percent. Turnover was NIS 2 billion.

The real estate index lost 2 percent in the wake of the performance by Africa Israel (TASE: AFIL), which was off 3.4 percent for the day - and 2 percent for the week. Its London-traded subsidiary, AFI, has lost 12 percent since its IPO at the beginning of the month.

Yesterday, bond markets saw the yields on Israeli government bonds lower than their U.S. counterparts for the first time in history for long-term Shahars with a 10-year duration.

The banks' index lost 0.8 percent and was off 2.4 percent for the week. Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) lost 1.4 percent, as the date for the expiration of Cerberus-Gabriel's option on Leumi shares nears its May 24 expiration date. Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) lost 0.3 percent.

Given Imaging (TASE: GIVN) rose 3.6 percent yesterday on news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved an improved version of its video capsule.

Discount Investment Corporation (TASE: DISI) was unchanged for the day, even though its Cellcom subsidiary announced that it means to dual-list on the TASE. The mobile services operator floated on the New York Stock Exchange in February. Its board of directors convened on Wednesday and agreed to dual-list the company in Tel Aviv after the strong results the company posted for the first quarter of 2007.

There is one technical snag: dual-listing remains contingent on the permission of Cellcom's bondholders, who had lent money to the company under a certain set of circumstances. That set included the company's registration for trading on Wall Street, not Tel Aviv.

Cellcom's initial public offering in February was a roaring success. Over-subscription for the stock induced the shareholders to increase their selling by a million shares, for $20 a pop. That was 11 percent above the ceiling of pricing range in the company's prospectus.