Market Report / Bezeq Rallies From Yes Fiasco

Tel Aviv stocks gained ground on the last trading day of the week, closing almost 1 percent higher on heavy total turnover of NIS 2.2 billion. This month so far, Israeli blue chips have soared by a steep 14 percent, bringing them just 0.4 percent shy of 1,200 points.

Explaining the gains today, traders pointed to robust gains on Asian and European stock markets yesterday and the 0.6 percent starting gain on Wall Street.

The TA-25 index and TA-100 both advanced 0.8 percent on Thursday. The TA-25 index of blue chips has risen 3.3 percent this week, ending at 1,195 points, while the TA-100 index reached 1,155 points. From the start of the week the TA-100 index gained 2.4 percent.

Despite the boost from foreign markets, dual-listed stocks finished Thursday mixed. Teva gained 1.1 percent while Nice Systems retreated by 0.4 percent.

Among purely local stocks, Bezeq has stood uncomfortably in the spotlight as its subsidiary the Yes satellite TV company continues to explain the disruptions to its service in the last month. The problems began on September 6 but for weeks the company kept mum. Finally it persuaded the government and army to help locate the problem, which proved to be two apparently Dutch ships using military radar systems that jammed the satellite TV signal. Yesterday Bezeq stock jumped 3.6 percent as the problem with Yes seems to be ending, and shares of rival TV broadcaster HOT lost 1 percent. The day before HOT had risen 2.3 percent.

The Real Estate-15 index bucked the trend by easing down 0.2 percent. From the week's start, though, it's gained 5.3 percent. Heavyweight Africa Israel dragged down the index yesterday by losing 3.5 percent on the day's second heaviest turnover, NIS 125 million. Investors frowned at the third-quarter earnings warning that Africa Israel published yesterday, which was just a day after the real estate giant had tapped them for a billion shekels through a bond issue.

Bank shares leaped handsomely: Bank Hapoalim rose 0.8 percent and archrival Leumi gained 1,6 percent. For the week, the Banks-5 index gained 2.1 percent.

Shares of U. Dori rose 5.5 percent on lively turnover of NIS 8 million on news that it's apparently going to float a group company, Ronson Development, in Warsaw, Poland, at a company valuation of NIS 300-400 million. U. Dori should be posting a pretax capital gain of around NIS 100-200 million, surmise capital market sources. Meanwhile, the market capitalization of U. Dori itself has crossed the half-billion shekel mark: this year its share price has risen by 38 percent.

Elbit System shares dropped 1.1 percent after Clal Finance Batucha downgraded its investment grade to Sector Perform, for no better reason than its share price was approaching the equity analyst's 12-month price target.