Market Report / Banks Index Jumps 2.5% on Upbeat TASE

Tel Aviv stocks rebounded in late trading yesterday, closing more than a percent higher on huge turnover of NIS 3 billion. The morning had started in the red, not only here but in Asian and European exchanges as well. Towards closing, though, Wall Street opened with a rally and the local indexes bounced upwards.

Nasdaq started with a 1 percent gain and shortly thereafter, the TA-25 index closed with a gain of 1.2 percent to 1,209.4 points. The TA-100 index advanced by 0.9 percent to 1,152.6 points but the TelTech-15 index couldn't claw its way into the black, and closed half a percent lower. Smallcaps went nowhere at all: the MidCap-50 and Yeter-120 both ended with a 0.1 percent gain.

Of that NIS 3 billion turnover, which is unusual, no less than 17 percent was in shares of Israel Chemicals. ICL suffered from heavy selling and was down as much as 5.4 percent, but it regained some ground and closed 2.1 percent lower on huge turnover of NIS 350 million (see related story on this page).

The downturn in ICL did nothing good for its parent company, The Israel Corporation, which retreated by 0.8 percent. It too rebounded in part from a morning loss of 3 percent. Turnover in Israel Corp stock was extraordinarily heavy at NIS 165 million.

While frowning on chemicals, investors smiled upon bank stocks, which had suffered mightily in the past week as turmoil continued to roil the world's financial markets. The Banks-5 index gained 2.5 percent, recovering some of the 6.5 percent it lost in a week. Shares of Bank Hapoalim leaped 3.2 percent, after having lost 9 percent in the last week. Its plunge depressed its market capitalization below that of Bank Leumi for the first time in decades. Apropos of which, Bank Leumi stock gained 2.4 percent.

If there was one sector that the market's wrath spared last week, it was real estate, but then property stocks had taken a pounding in the preceding weeks. Yesterday the Real Estate-15 index gained 2.2 percent after losing a mere 1.4 percent in the last week. Africa Israel and Gazit Globe, both gorillas on the index, gained ground: 4.1 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.

Yesterday was the day for smallcaps to file their third-quarter financial statements. And here are the results, share price-wise: Babylon sank 4 percent, Ortam Sahar lost 0.5 percent and Golf lost 1.2 percent despite delivering a solid report. Lito sank 12 percent as the uncertainty over a takeover of the company persists and Ceragon retreated by 9 percent. Real estate company Pangaea advanced by 7.6 percent thanks to an exit and Arcadi Gaydamak's company Willi-Food dropped 4 percent.

Elbit Systems gained 5.3 percent after Leader Capital Markets issued a positive equity research report on the warfare systems maker. In the space of two trading days, Elbit Systems stock gained 9 percent.