Market Report / Terror Attacks Defeat Early-morning Gains

The leading indexes on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange opened up sharply yesterday morning on the back of Monday's rally on Wall Street, but the shooting attack that left two settlers dead near Ariel and the suicide bombing in Jerusalem later in the day, coupled with negative Nasdaq futures and losses on European exchanges, sent the TASE back down to earth. The Maof closed down 0.33 percent at 376 points and the Tel Aviv 75 was down 0.9 percent. Turnover was low at NIS 230 million.

Teva Pharmaceuticals gained 0.9 percent on turnover of NIS 76 million. On Monday Teva published its best ever financial results, reporting a net profit of $92 million for the second quarter of 2002.

In the banking sector, Bank Hapoalim gained 1.3 percent, the sharpest rise of the session on the Maof Index, while Bank Leumi headed in the opposite direction, slipping 1.8 percent - among the heaviest losses of the day.

Partner Communications, which on Monday reported its first ever profit, dropped 2 percent.

On the Tel Aviv 75, Alliance Tire Company soared 15.4 percent after confirming reports published yesterday in Ma'ariv that businessman Eliezer Fishman, the controlling shareholder in Alliance, was negotiating the sale of the tire manufacturer to a group of American investors. Over the last year, Alliance shares have dropped 40 percent.

Fashion concern Castro dropped 3.9 percent. Like other fashion companies, Castro has been hit by the recession and the security situation, which have led to a fall in private consumption. Market players had originally said that fashion rival Fox's higher profitability gave it an edge over Castro, but since Fox's flotation in April it has dropped 25 percent, while Castro has declined by only 10 percent in the same period.

On the foreign currency market, the shekel gained 0.45 percent, with the representative rate set at NIS 4.71 to the dollar. Shekel-denominated bonds reacted with moderate gains: Shahar bonds edged up by 0.1 to 0.2 percent and Gilon bonds gained by up to 0.25 percent. Shahar bonds are currently trading at annual yields of just over 9 percent.