The blast in Jerusalem checked the forward momentum of Tel Aviv stocks. The Maof-25 index dipped from 1.3% to 0.9% but tech stocks are sustaining firm gains Wednesday of 2.4%.

Investors were cheered in the morning by the government passing a tight budget proposal for 2003, albeit by a narrow majority.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq,TASE:TEVA) continues to hog the kliegs. The company is rising another 1% on lively trade, on the usual positive sentiment for the giant drugmaker. Teva this week announced it had beat second-quarter earnings forecasts by 10%.

Investors are also smiling on the bank stocks this morning. Bank Hapoalim is rising by 1.6% and Bank Leumi is up 0.8%, after announcing a buyback of its mortgage bank this morning.

Leumi Mortgage Bank, the subject of the buyback, is scrambling up by 26%, roughly the extent of the premium its parent was offering for its stock. The buyback is expected to cost Leumi, which wants to delist its mortgage arm, some NIS 125 million.

Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) is climbing by 5.5% after announcing good reports for the second quarter today. The company also announced the acquisition of Thales Contact Solutions for $55 million in stock and cash. After the deal, Thales will own 14% of Nice's shares.

Tower Semiconductor (Nasdaq:TSEM) is up 4.5% after revealing revenue of $11.6 million for the second quarter, as predicted. At the bottom line Tower said it lost $11.3 million. The company said it expects to present moderate growth in the second half of the year.