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The Maven: Making the Most of Bad News

So much bad news, so little time.

We are ending a week that included bombs over Israel, even Japan raising rates and a parade of questionable earnings reports in the U.S., where a pastor speaking at Ken Lay's funeral likened the Enron scoundrel to lynching victim James Byrd Jr. If I left anything out, just write it off to exhaustion.

But with the world apparently coming unhinged, let's pay special attention in coming days to buying opportunities.

One doesn't need a weather vane to see which way the wind is blowing in the Israeli stock market. Israeli investors are close to panic mode, with the market dropping more than 8% in the past two days. Teva Pharmacutical (TEVA) and Perrigo (PRGO) fell about half that (so far) in American markets, but our own TheStreet.com correspondent in Tel Aviv, Elinor Arbel, picks the right time to sift for buying opportunities.

Arbel quotes an HSBC report that suggests (rightly) that sizable Israeli exporters might be relatively unaffected by the recent escalation in fighting in the northern portion of their country. NICE Systems (NICE), Saifun Semiconductors (SFUN) and Orbotech (ORBK), which are all down, might fit into this category. Moreover, the Israeli economy has been resilient in the past (it does have some experience with this sort of thing). And with inflation in check and earnings strong, why should this time be different?

Over at The Jerusalem Post, there's some dissent, with obvious headlines like "Northern Flareup Could Slow Growth" and "Violence Brings End to Tourist Flow Up North." The first is a story on economists' concern that the country's budget might have to be reworked to allow for war funding. (Editor's note: To access some of these stories, registration or a subscription may be required. Please check the individual links for the site's policy.)

But to steel yourself for a buy-on-the-bombs investment, let us look elsewhere in The Jerusalem Post for signs of long-term opportunity. On this note, there is a warm editorial from Chen Yanglong, China's ambassador to Israel. A strong case can be made that small, technological savvy countries like Israel and Ireland may stand to benefit the most from China's development in the coming years. Yanglong touches upon the remarkable growth in trade between the two countries and gets florid in his confidence for future partnerships, even going into metaphor overload mode.

Gushes Yanglong:

"I therefore firmly believe that for Israelis the Chinese market is just like the wide sea for fish to leap or that vast sky for birds to fly."

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