Market Report / No Terror? TASE Cheers Up

At the end of a volatile session and after days of significant drops, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange eked out tiny gains yesterday. The Maof-25 blue chip index gained 0.8 percent to 364 points and the TA-100 rose 0.5 percent. Volume continued to be low amounting to NIS 160 million. The upward trend for most of the day stemmed from the fact that there had been no terror attacks for several hours, as well as from sharp gains on European markets and Wall Street's opening.

Yesterday's currency market was more interesting than the stock market. The shekel traded up against the U.S. dollar throughout the day.

The representative exchange rate was set at NIS 4.705, up 0.36 percent from the previous official daily rate. Shekel revaluation continued after the daily rate was set, and the greenback was trading at NIS 4.70.

As is usually the norm when the shekel trades up, shekel bonds also gained yesterday. Fixed-interest Shahar bonds increased as much as 0.5 percent, while variable-interest Gilon bonds climbed 0.2 percent.

After the storm in the shares of retail chains at the beginning of the week, yesterday was a pretty calm day for the companies. Super-Sol (NYSE: SAE) traded flat after losing nearly 7 percent Sunday, while controlling shareholder Discount Investments climbed 2.4 percent. Blue Square Israel (NYSE: BSI) and Blue Square Properties dropped 1.4 percent and 2 percent respectively. Blue Square has not yet published Q2 financial results, but investors expect a drop in sales and profits due to the recession and increased competition in the sector, as well as huge leaps in security and clearing costs.

The highest turnover of the session was the NIS 29 million posted by drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA), which gained 0.4 percent. The second-highest volume was Koor (NYSE:KOR), which had a NIS 15 million turnover while falling 3 percent.

The downward pressure on Bank Leumi lessened slightly yesterday, with the bank gaining 0.3 percent. On Sunday, the cabinet approved the Marani Committee recommendations to privatize some of the bank via offering 7 percent of it to the public via the TASE.

The sharpest TA-100 drop came from Menorah Holdings, as the insurance company shed 7 percent on low turnover. It has gained 35 percent since the beginning of the year.

Notable gainers were Metalink (Nasdaq: MTLK), up 4.9 percent, Lipman Engineering, up 3.8 percent and Industrial Buildings, up 3.2 percent.

Small caps that bleeped on the radar yesterday included Rogosin Enterprises, which continued its freefall as it parted with 90 percent of its value on miniscule turnover. The company, which defaulted on a bond payment, has lost more than 99 percent since the beginning of the year. Share and bondholders do not appreciate the company's behavior toward creditors and prefer companies that meet their commitments. In addition, uncertainty regarding a Rogosin court case is also spurring investors to dump holdings in the company.

Water company Neviot Nature of Galilee fell 23 percent on its poor financials. Gambit Computer Communications lost 17.5 percent on the departure of Michael Davis, which is likely to lead to significant changes in the company.