Market Report / Heavy Global Losses Pull Down Tel Aviv

Heavy losses plagued Tel Aviv stocks yesterday, following the plunge in Asian share prices after Wall Street chalked its second-biggest point drop in four years the previous day. European markets were also down.

Israeli blue chips have been more or less in retreat since the great tumble in Asia two weeks ago, which began with a 9-percent one-day drop in Shanghai's stock markets. Share prices began to rally here and there, but Tel Aviv shares were sent back into retreat throughout the last two trading sessions because of the uproar at the Bank of Israel, where a labor dispute has gravely disrupted routine work and even led the prime minister to intervene.

From the start of the year, though, the TA-25 index has risen 5 percent. It lost 1.8 percent yesterday to close at 955.9 points, and the TA-100 index also lost 1.8 percent to close at 960.6 points. Tech stocks retreated by 1.4 percent, pulled down by dual-listed stocks starting with negative arbitrage gaps, and the Real Estate-15 index lost 2.9 percent. Second and third-tier stocks were also off sharply, with the TA-75 down 1.8 percent and the Yeter-30 off 2 percent. The Tel-Bond index was also down slightly. Total turnover was average, at NIS 1.7 billion.

Holding company Koor lost 3.7 percent after its subsidiary Makhteshim Agan published dismal results for the year 2006 yesterday. Makhteshim Agan shares were off 2.6 percent. Elbit Systems (TASE: ELST) yesterday said its sales passed the $1.5 billion mark in 2006, but its share lost 2.6 percent nonetheless. It was that sort of day. Teva (TASE: TEVA), a dual-listed stock, dropped 0.5 percent on turnover of NIS 130 million, and dual-listed Nice Systems was down 2.7 percent.