Financials lift Lipman 7.7% as TASE slips slightly - TheStreet

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed trading today on slight drops of 0.3% in leading indices on NIS 160 million turnover.

Trading opened on 0.5% gains following yesterday's positive trend as the IDF's "Defensive Shield 2" in the Gaza strip was called off. However, after an upbeat morning, the mood changed around 1:00 pm and indices slid into red territory where they remained the rest of the day.

Closed own 0.4% at 386.2 points and the TA-100 lost a minor 0.2% to close at 373 points. Technology shares posted 1.1% gains.

Market players note that the market reversal followed TheMarker's report that ratings agency S&P is considering lowering Israel's sovereign credit rating to BBB this month. In addition, the players noted the Likud central committee's vote last night against the establishment of a Palestinian state, which was not well-accepted by world opinion, as negatively impacting market mood.

Bank shares, which opened the day up, ended the day down. Bank Hapoalim lost 0.8% on NIS 16 million turnover, the second largest on the floor. Bank Leumi posted a 2.1% drop and Discount Bank lost 0.7%. Bank shares, particularly Bank Hapoalim, have suffered recently from foreign investor sell-offs due to a number of negative recommendations from foreign investment banks.

Lipman gained 7.7% on NIS 10.2 million turnover. This morning the company reported 87% growth in net profit in Q1 2002, with NIS 21.1 million. Revenue increased 37% and came to NIS 82 million.

The IDB group, which opened with positive bias, ended the day trading mixed. Discount Investments lost 1.3% on NIS 3 million. Daily Ha¿aretz reported today that the company is conducting talks to sell its 50% stake in Yehuda Steel Networks to its South African partner. IDB Holdings slid 0.1% and IDB Development lost 1.4%. Clal Industries ended the day up 1.3%.

The dual-listed shares also traded mixed today as Teva (Nasdaq: TEVA) with the highest volume fo NIS 21 million, lost 0.7% and Elbit Systems lost 1.6%. Matav traded up 2.2% and Koor gained 1.7%. Nice Systems also gained a healthy 2%.

Tefachot has attracted a lot of interest lately, climbing 3.5% today on unusually high NIS 6.6 million volume. The gains are apparently due to recent reports the bank will replace the First International Bank 5 share in the Maof-25 blue chip list in July.

Industrial Buildings rose 1.6% on good financials for Q1 2002. The company reported a 176% leap in net profits to NIS 18.5 million and a 71% increase in revenues to NIS 153 million. The company¿s increased sales stemmed primarily form a NIS 58 million jump in apartment sales.