Banks lift Tel Aviv stocks to green on Monday - TheStreet

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange finished Monday with mild gains on moderate total turnover of NIS 282 million.

The Maof-25 index rose 1% to 384.7 points and the TA-100 index rose 0.8% to 367.7 points. Tech stocks climbed 0.7% to 194.8 points.

Among the positive effects, the Finance Ministry has agreed to lower turnover tax to half a percent from January to June 2003, after which it rises to the original planned level of 1%. It is also getting serious about trimming the budget for 2003, traders note.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq,TASE:TEVA) fell 0.7% on the highest turnover of the day. NIS 35 million.

Bank Discount lost morning gains as investors show their opinion of the weekend robbery, in which crooks broke into the bank's central branch and waltzed out with the contents of 451 safety deposit boxes. An unverified report says an alarm shrilled for hours, but that the bank's two guards ignored it. Anyway, Discount began the day with an 0.9% gain and finished down 2.6%.

The big banks were strong, with Hapoalim rising 0.6% on NIS 17.6 million turnover and Leumi rising 2.3% on turnover of NIS 16.1 million.

Lipman gained 2.2% on unusually high turnover of NIS 3.9 million, after announcing that the First Israel Mezzanine Investment fund plans to invest NIS 150 million in buying up to 19% of Lipman's equity and convertible bonds.

Chemical companies powered ahead today, with Makhteshim Agan Industries rising 2.7% on a volume of NIS 6 million, and Israel Chemicals rising half a percent on almost NIS 8 million volume.