Tel Aviv stocks closed Wednesday with mild losses on low turnover of NIS 170 million.
Tuesday's drops on Wall Street pushed down the TASE at opening. The poor mood was exacerbated by chill winds from Europe, which kept local stocks down throughout. However, the losses moderated toward closing.
The Maof-25 index finished off 0.8% at 429.69 points and the TA-100 index dropped 0.8% to 416.97 points. Technology shares lost 0.9%.
Several weighty companies released second-quarter results today, including Bank Leumi, Bank Discount, the Migdal insurance company, and phone company Bezeq.
Bank Leumi closed up 0.8% on a NIS 13 million volume of trade. It netted NIS 358 million for Q2, 5.6% more than in the parallel despite a 95% increase in provision for doubtful debts, to NIS 179 million.
Migdal rose by 1.5% on NIS 5 million volume of trade after releasing an excellent report for Q2 and announcing enormous impending dividends. Net profit grew to NIS 140.5 million, 39% more than in the parallel. Migdal today announced NIS 140 million dividends, the same as its net Q2 profit.
Phone company Bezeq fell 2.6% on the session?s biggest turnover of NIS 30 million. The company today announced a 40% drop in operating profit for Q2, to NIS 161 million. Bezeq's net horrified investors, coming in far below analyst forecasts. Earnings dropped to NIS 84 million, compared with earnings of NIS 109 million for the parallel.
On Monday, Ilanot Batucha analyst Ron Israeli cut his forecast for Bezeq's Q2 profit to NIS 125 million, compared with his previous forecast of more than NIS 160 million. Missed by a mile.
Bank Discount closed up 0.2% on NIS 2 turnover after releasing a positive Q2 report. After heavy losses over the last three quarters, the company netted NIS 31 million. Analysts were cheered, noting that Discount's efficiency measures soothed the pain of one-time charges. They also say the bank's provision for doubtful debt was reasonable.
Other bank stocks closed mixed. Bank Hapoalim closed off 0.2%, Mizrahi Bank rose by 0.6%, and the First International Bank of Israel dropped 2.9%.
Mashov Computers dived 5% on NIS 2.5 million volume of trade. Yesterday Mashov lost 3.2% on exceptional turnover of NIS 3.7 million. The parent company Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) has in the past announced that it wants to distribute Mashov shares as dividends. Formula lost 3.3% on NIS 2 million volume of trade.
Liraz Systems rose by 5.6% on low turnover, following reports that Formula Chairman and CEO Dan Goldstein is in advanced negotiations to acquire control over the company.
Dual-listed shares closed down after opening with negative arbitrage gaps. Teva Phamaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) lost 1.9%, Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) dropped 2.7%, and Elron Electronic Industries (Nasdaq:ELRN) closed down 1.8%.