Tel Aviv stocks ended the Wednesday session down only slightly from Tuesday's close, progressively cutting morning losses that had reached 2.8%, leaving the indices back where they were before the 2% cut in lending rates two months ago

The opening drops were attributed to the terror attack on Tuesday in which six soldiers were killed at a road block in the territories, and to sharp 3% drops on Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Speculators helped take a bite out of those morning losses. February options on the Maof-index expire tomorrow. The weaker dollar against the shekel also helped, as did Goldman Sachs' forecast that key lending rates will rise by 1.2% within three months.

The Maof-25 blue chip index closed off 0.1% to 415.7 points, and the TA-100 index closed down 0.3% to 400.53 points. Technology shares dropped 1.2%. Total turnover was moderate at NIS 364 million, higher than usual due to options expiring tomorrow.

Bezeq closed down 0.2%. The company issued a profit warning for 2001, and said results will show marked negative impact from substantial losses in subsidiary Pele-Phone, where Bezeq owns 50%. Cellular provider Pele-Phone is expected to make big one-time write-downs in Q4 on capital equipment. The results do not indicate deteriorated performance, Bezeq said.

Clal Industries of the IDB group closed up 0.2% after today announcing the sale of its holdings in International Technologies Lasers for $7.3 million. Capital gains are expected to come to NIS 8 million.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) closed down 1% on NIS 52.7 million volume, after opening with 2% negative arbitrage spread.

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