Tel Aviv stocks closed down 3% Sunday on negative economic indicators, regional violence

Tel Aviv stocks dropped 3.2% on Sunday. The negative mood that lasted throughout the day was attributed to a series of causes, such as the 2.1% Nasdaq drop on Friday, and the 1.1% rise of the January consumer price index. Further escalation in the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians didn't help either. In addition, market sources expect that the Bank of Israel will next Monday raise key lending rates by 0.5%.

The Maof-25 blue chip index closed off 3.2% to 422.7 points, and the TA-100 index closed down 3% to 407.5 points. Technology shares dropped 4%. Total turnover was moderate at NIS 254 million.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) closed down 2.7% on the session's biggest turnover, NIS 28 million. Teva opened with 1.7% negative arbitrage spread. The firm 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 closed off 2.5% 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 dropped 2.5% on turnover of NIS 18 million. 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) slumped 6.3% on NIS 9.5 million volume. Partner opened with a huge negative arbitrage spread of 5.1%.

IDB Holding Corporation dropped 4.3% on estimates that Kardan is to scrap plans to acquire control in the IDB group. Kardan closed off 3.6% on NIS 500,000 turnover. Market sources estimate that Kardan wants to reopen price negotiations on the deal.

Industrial Building Corporation dropped 5.5% on NIS 1 million volume ahead of a private offering, which, together with its offering to institutional investors, is expected to come to NIS 576 million.

Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) closed down 3.5%, Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) closed off 3.5%, Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) dropped 3%, and Elbit Systems (Nasdaq:ESLT) dropped 3%.

IDB Development Corporation closed down 5%, Discount Investments closed off 5.8%, Clal Industries dropped 5.1%.

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