CPI, expected interest rate hike send TASE down 2.5% at Sunday opening

Tel Aviv stocks are sharply down 2.5% at Sunday opening after Nasdaq fell 2.1% on Friday. The drops are also related to the January consumer price index which rose 1.1%, higher than expected.

The Maof-25 blue chip index is off 2.5%, and the TA-100 index is off 2.1%. Technology shares are dropping 1.9%. Total turnover is low at NIS 18 million.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is down 1.4% on NIS 4 million turnover after opening with 1.7% negative arbitrage spread. Teva last week reported $567 million sales for Q4, and net profit of $89 million before one-time charges, 54% more than in Q4 for 2000.

Bank Hapoalim is falling 1.5% despite being upgraded to a Buy rating by UBS, which set a price target of NIS 11.4, 31% above Thursday's closing price.

Bank Leumi is losing 1.5%. Market sources believe that the bank will be distributing NIS 315 million dividends. This is in line with the bank's dividends policy, to distribute 35% of earnings.

Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE:PTNR, LSE:PCCD) is slumping 4.5% after opening with a huge negative arbitrage spread of 5.1%.

Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) is down 1.9%.

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