Tel Aviv stocks sank 2.1% on a wave of terrorism, starting with a bomb attack on a bus that killed at least nine people and wounded dozens in the early morning. In later incidents, a Palestinian gunman killed three people and wounded several more by the Old City of Jerusalem , and four more Israelis were mortally wounded in two attacks in Samaria.

The commuter bus, No. 361, had been packed with people traveling from Haifa to work in Safed, northern Israel. The Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turnover on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was paper-thin at NIS 134 million.

Trade opened with a 1.8% slide on the bomb attack at Har Meron, and on Wall Street's dismal performance last week: The Nasdaq tumbled 6% over Thursday and Friday and the Dow Jones dropped 5% in two days. The session was characterized by a slow slide south on desultory trade, with the big banks and the IDB group in the doghouse.

The Maof-25 index finished down 2.1% to 363.9 points and the Tel Aviv-100 index lost 1.8% to 352.9 points. Tech stocks sank 2.3%.

IDB Holding Corporation lost 1.3% and its sister company IDB Development Corporation fell by 2.7%. Discount Investment Corporation tumbled by 4.5% and Clal Industries lost 3%.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) was the liveliest share on the half-dead floor. It lost 2.5% on turnover of NIS 25 million, after starting the session on a negative arbitrage gap of 0.9% with Nasdaq. Speculators are apparently taking profit after gains generated by the company's positive second-quarter report.

Other dual-listed stocks generally traded in the red: Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) lost 3.1%. Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE:PTNR, LSE:PCCD) sank by the samw and Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) dropped by 4.5%.

Dor Chemicals bucked the trend with a 2.8% gain on high turnover of NIS 590,000, after announcing preliminary results for the second quarter. It said it netted abut NIS 70 million in the first half (pre-audited results), on revenue of about half a billion shekels up a lovely 335% from the parallel six months of the previous year. In the first half of 2001 it netted, for the sake of comparison, NIS 0.6 million.

The big banks stayed in the red, with Hapoalim losing 3.1%, Bank Leumi down 1.3% and Bank Discount falling 2.4%. Moody's warned that the Israeli banks face a downgrade because of Israel's persisting economic malaise, which is bound to impact on the banks' performance. The rating agency already downgraded the First International Bank of Israel.

A point of light was Makhteshim-Agan Industries, correcting after taking a beating last week because of the devaluation of the Brazilian real. It finished up 1.6% on huge turnover of NIS 11 million. The real changed direction this week and rebounded to 3.03 to the dollar, up 8% from its rate of 3.45 last Wednesday. MAI said today it received notification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that an abridged process has begun regarding its Rimon insecticide, used to terminate bugs plaguing fruit and veggies. The company estimates that a marketing permit will be forthcoming by year-end 2003 and that United States sales will exceed $10 million a year.

Retailers were hammered, with Supersol losing 2% and Blue Square Israel falling 2%. Blue Square Properties sank 2.4%. Both also dropped last Thursday on news stories that the second quarter was a terrible one for retailers, compared with the parallel quarter of last year.

If you liked this article you might like

Nessuah Zannex: Rating cut's main damage is to banks' images to foreigners

Nessuah Zannex: Rating cut's main damage is to banks' images to foreigners

Yes recruitment rate down to 6,000 a month

Yes recruitment rate down to 6,000 a month

Cadence to invest in Israeli startups

Cadence to invest in Israeli startups

Court grants Mentergy 40-day stay of proceedings

Court grants Mentergy 40-day stay of proceedings

Leader & Co sees Discount shifting to profit in Q3

Leader & Co sees Discount shifting to profit in Q3