Market Report / Post-Powell Stalemate Lifts TASE

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's failure to cobble together a cease-fire during his tour of the Middle East had no discernible impact on shares in Tel Aviv yesterday, with traders apparently taking solace from the stalemate and relative security calm.

Shares started the day in positive territory, up 1 percent, and the trend continued throughout the day, with the Tel Aviv 25 (Maof) ending the session up by 1.5 percent at 395 points and the Tel Aviv 75 up by 1 percent. Total turnover for the day was NIS 238 million.

Traders attributed the positive atmosphere to rising prices in New York in the past two days - when TASE was closed due to Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day. Also boosting morale was the expected low consumer price index figure for March and the prospect that Israeli troops will soon pull out of more Palestinian towns. Even a report in the Ma'ariv daily that Finance Minister Silvan Shalom plans to slap a capital tax on profits from TASE trading as well as falling European shares failed to subdue relief that the holidays had passed without a major security breach.

Among the the highest risers were holding companies IDB Holdings, which gained 3.4 percent, affiliated company IDB Development Corp, up 2.9 percent, and the Israel Corp., which gained 2.6 percent. Also impressive were Migdal, up 3.2 percent, and Osem, up 3 percent.

Delek Drilling rose 4.2 percent and Avner rose 2.7 percent on news that the drilling platform for the Marie natural gas field was in place and the drilling of production wells was imminent. The project is being carried out for Yam Thetis, which plans to supply natural gas to the Israel Electric Corporation.

Ormat soared by 4.35 percent after announcing it had won a bid to build a geothermic energy plant in Guatemala.