Tel Aviv stocks opened 2001 with a 1% drop, but cut losses within moments.

Investors anticipate a bearish January on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange because of the lack of progress toward an accord between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Maof-25 index of blue chips is down 0.2% to 504.8 points and the TA-100 is off 0.3% to 487.5 points. The Tel-Tech technology index is unchanged, after losing more than 7% on Sunday, partly thanks to the 41% dive of Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE). Apropos of which, Nice is gaining 2% on NIS 4 million, the session's highest turnover as of writing. A nice start to the year after ending 2000 with a 60% nose-dive following its profit warning for the fourth quarter of 2000.

Despite the gloomy outlook for January, traders anticipate a bullish 2001. Menorah Gaon Investment House analyst Gidon Schwabe expects higher yields in Tel Aviv this year than on American markets. Shuva predicts that in 2001 the Israeli economy will total an annual growth rate of 4.5%.

DBM Investment House CEO Rami Dror this morning attributed the Tel-Tech plunge on Sunday to a last-moment sell-off by companies wanting to record losses in their books. He believes that smallcap shares that plummeted yesterday will correct upwards today.

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