Market Report / TASE Is on Top of the World

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange continued its strong showing yesterday despite the recently announced high consumer price index and concerns of further security deterioration after Tuesday's Immanuel bus attack.

The Maof-25 blue chip index gained 2.9 percent, to 386, the Maof gained 4.8 percent and the TA-100 closed up 2.3 percent. Trade was relatively lively, with turnover at NIS 290 million, on the last day of the short trading week due to the Tisha B'Av break.

Koor (NYSE: KOR) soared 9.2 percent on NIS 21 million in turnover on rumors in the financial newspaper Globes that Bank Hapoalim had sold its 20 percent stake in the concern. Even after Hapoalim's management denied the report, trade in the concern remained lively with further gains.

After a day of devaluation of the shekel due the high CPI, revaluation returned to the currency trading floors yesterday. The representative shekel-dollar exchange rate was set at NIS 4.661, up 0.53 percent from the previous official rate. The shekel continued to gain ground after the daily rate was set, trading below NIS 4.66 against the greenback.

The euro and basket of currencies also weakened yesterday in local trade. The strong shekel boosted the bond market again after sliding the previous day, and Shahar fixed-interest bonds posted relatively sharp 1 percent gains.

European markets fared well yesterday with London up 3.8 percent, Paris soaring 3.7 percent and Frankfurt adding 2 percent. The TASE was heavily influenced yesterday by these strong results and positive Nasdaq futures.

Since the June 23 low point, when the bond market collapsed and the Maof skidded to 359 points, leading indices have climbed 11 percent. The shekel joined the party with an 8 percent climb, and fixed-interest bonds have corrected upwards by as much as 20 percent.

The TASE recovery of the past few weeks is even more impressive against the backdrop of the European and U.S. capital markets: London has lost 25 percent since May, while New York markets have also lost more than 20 percent in recent months.

In addition to Koor's fantastic showing, other Maof members had sharp gains as well. IDB Group shares vaulted upwards as IDB Development gained 5.3 percent and IDB Holdings closed up 5.8 percent. Discount Investments added 5.6 percent and Clal Industries was up 4.2 percent. Israel Corporation shares picked up 5.2 percent, and Industrial Buildings saw another 5.1 percent gain. As is nearly the norm, Teva Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: TEVA) posted the highest turnover on the floor with NIS 48 million as it gained 2.5 percent.

Israel Discount Bank has attracted a lot of interest lately, and gained 4 percent yesterday to reach a 26-percent three-week gain.