Weaker dollar helped TASE climb out of Wednesday hole

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.

Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE:PTNR, LSE:PCCD) dropped 0.9% after opening with a 4.3% negative arbitrage spread.

Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) closed down 1.6% on NIS 12 million volume.

Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) closed off 1.2% after opening with a huge negative arbitrage spread of 5.6%. Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) dropped 2.8%, Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) dropped 1.5%.

Bank Hapoalim climbed 0.4%, Bank Leumi closed off 0.9%.

IDB group stocks mostly corrected upward. IDB Holding Corporation gained 0.6%, Discount Investments gained 1.5%, while IDB Development Corporation closed down 1.5%.

The Delek group closed down 1.7% after strong fluctuations of 3% gains and 5% drops.

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