Tel Aviv stocks reversed to end the Wednesday session with a negative bias, after sustaining mild gains throughout most of the day on moderate turnover.
Investors sent stocks up on Tuesday after the surprising climb in gross domestic product, and were encouraged early on today by handsome gains on Wall Street.
The Maof-25 index ended down half a percent to 393.6 points and the Tel Aviv-100 index edged down by 0.2% to 380.4 points. Tech stocks inched up by 0.5% after starting the day solidly in the green. The total volume of trade ended moderate at NIS 238 million, after a mostly sluggish day.
Traders related the sluggishness to investor fears of escalating violence over the long weekend. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange will be closed on Thursday due to the Shavuot holiday. In any case, traders point out that the Maof-25 index is near the 400-point mark, which is a strong resistance level for it.
The Supersol retail chain lost most of its afternoon gain to end up 0.4% on a volume of NIS 15.1 million after reporting a 34% leap in first-quarter net profit to about NIS 54 million, compared with NIS 41 million in the parallel quarter of 2001. The leap is partly due to an NIS 24 million capital gain from selling its holdings in Avnet, one of the partners in a Petah Tikva mall, among other properties, the company reported. Supersol's quarterly income came to NIS 1.71 billion, up 11% against the parallel quarter.
Rival chain Blue Square saw its downward trend pick up as the session wore on. It finished down 2.8% on turnover of NIS 7.8 million. Blue Square had ended Tuesday down 4% after revealing weak first-quarter results. Its revenues increased by only 1.6% to NIS 1.38 billion, and its operating profits sank by over 8%. On the other hand, its net profit increased by 30% to NIS 41 million.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (Nasdaq:TEVA) inched down by 0.1%. the company only announced the FDA okay for Torsemide, its generic version of hypertension drug Roche's Demadex, shortly before the closing bell.
Clal Insurance also dipped south as the session wore on, ending down 2.1% after today reporting a 41% dive in quarterly net profit to NIS 34.5 million. Most of that drop was due to a 15.8% slide in revenues from non-insurance investments, which led to a first-quarter loss of NIS 21.2 million. In the parallel quarter of 2001 the company lost NIS 5.4 million.
Clal Insurance's holding company, IDB Development, lost 0.8%. The other IDB group stocks ended mixed, with IDB Holding Corp losing 0.9% and Discount Corporation rising 1%.
Clothing maker Delta finished down 6.7% after reporting weak first-quarter results yesterday, including a 37% dive in net profit to $1.8 million. Its quarterly revenues slid by 7% to $124.8 million.
Team gained 1.3%, a far cry from its mid-day rise of 5%, after its subsidiary TTI Telecom International (Nasdaq:TTIL) yesterday jumped 15% on Wall Street after filing its first-quarter report. TI reported netting 36 cents per share for the quarter, a whopping 4 cents over forecasts.