Banks and IDB group stocks pulled down Tel Aviv stocks 0.5% on low turnover of NIS 223 million on Tuesday.
The Maof-25 and the TA-100 indices each dropped 0.5%, and technology shares closed off 1.7%. Earlier in the session blue chips were down 1.2%.
Monday gains in Wall Street lifted stocks to mild gains at opening. But toward 10:30 the stocks turned to mild losses despite gains in Europe and optimistic Nasdaq futures.
Market players attributed the drops to sale activity by speculators on the Maof-25 index, whose base assets are estimated at NIS 1 billion. They surmised that the speculators are now improving their positions after holding on to shares over recent week, when companies distributed big dividends.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) gained 1.8% on hefty turnover of NIS 33 million. Teva opened with a positive arbitrage spread of 0.7%. The company yesterday announced that after a six-month delay, it has received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Lovastatin tablets 10, 20 and 40 milligrams, following the expiration of the exclusivity period for Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK) patented version Mevacor. The drug is used for lowering cholesterol levels. The annual sales of Mevacor come to $200 million.
Green Venture Capital leaped 12.7% on NIS 3.5 million turnover in an upward correction. Green lost 15% on Sunday after issuing rights to shareholders.
Mizrahi Bank closed off 0.2%. Yesterday investment house Ilanot Batucha rated it a Buy, setting a target of NIS 14, 13.4% above the market. Analyst Alon Glazer estimates the bank's portfolio as the highest quality in the banking sector due to Mizrahi's conservative loan policy in recent years, and its low exposure compared with other banks. But the analyst also noted the internal struggles between the Ofer and Wertheim families. The analyst believes this could damage the quality of the bank's management.
Bank Leumi closed off 0.5% on NIS 10 million volume of trade. Investment house Gmul Sahar rated the bank a Buy, setting a price target of NIS 9.2, 18% above the market.
Elbit Systems (Nasdaq:ESLT) climbed 1.3% on NIS 18 million turnover, Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) rose by 2%, AudioCodes (Nasdaq:AUDC) closed up 2.5%. Metalink (Nasdaq:MTLK) plunged 8%, and Magal Security Systems (Nasdaq:MAGS) closed down 10.3%.
Bank Hapoalim dropped 1.2% on the session¿s biggest turnover, NIS 53 million, and Bank Discount slipped 0.6%.
IDB group stocks posted sharp losses. IDB Holding Corporation dropped 1.5%, and Discount Investments closed down 2.3%, IDB Development Corporation dropped 2.1%, and Clal Industries closed down 2.4%.