Market Report / Week Stays Flat

New York markets' opening in red territory yesterday ended hours of positive trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, and leading indices closed the week down. The Maof-25 blue chip index dropped 1.05 percent to 364 points, and the TA-75, which didn't manage a rapid reaction to Wall Street, closed off just 0.5 percent. Turnover remained low, amounting to NIS 135 million.

The shekel traded up yesterday and the representative exchange rate was set at NIS 4.70, a 0.17 percent gain on the previous official daily rate. After the daily rate was set, the shekel continued to gain ground in inter-bank trade. Bonds responded in kind and climbed slightly yesterday. Fixed-interest Shahar bonds from the 2680 series for an average six and half years gained 0.33 percent yesterday, trading at 9.3 percent yields.

Despite the terror attacks at the beginning of the week, Israel's financial markets remained stable as the Maof ended the week up a minuscule 0.6 percent and the shekel traded flat on the week. Investors are waiting for political developments and budget cuts.

Retail chain shares continued their free fall yesterday. Despite the sharp losses since the beginning of the year, Super Sol's (NYSE: SAE) terrible financial reports at the beginning of the week managed to surprise investors who apparently decided to cut their holdings in the sector. Super-Sol lost another 2.3 percent yesterday, while Blue Square Israel (NYSE: BSI) lost 0.4 percent and Blue Square Properties shed 1 percent.

The highest Maof gains yesterday were from Elbit Systems with 2.5 percent and Makhteshim Agan which climbed 3.9 percent. Elbit gained as investors responded to positive financial results published the day before as well as a number of "buy" recommendations in light of those Q2 reports.

Makhteshim Agan gained the day before as well after months of severe losses, benefiting from the $30 billion International Monetary Fund emergency aid package for Brazil, where Makhteshim does a significant share of its business.

Despite Makhteshim's problematic situation, parent Koor (NYSE: KOR) didn't post significant drops. The concern fell 0.4 percent on NIS 14 million volume. Drug maker Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA) gained 0.2 percent on the highest turnover.