Markets batten down hatches for Gaza op: TASE down 1.5%, shekel down 0.5% - TheStreet

Tel Aviv stocks are falling 1.5% as Israel gets ready to strike at Gaza in retaliation for a terrorist suicide bombing that killed 16 people Tuesday night. Even the Nasdaq's 7.8% gains on Wednesday are failing to lift the market.

The Maof-25 blue chip index is falling 1.5%, the TA-100 index is down 0.9%, while the Tel-Tech is up 0.7% on a Nasdaq backwind. Total turnover is a low NIS 72 million.

The shekel is losing ground against the dollar to NIS 4.9250, after starting the morning strong. The dollar hike is impacting the bond market, Shahar shekel bonds dropping 1% to 1.2%. Government New Gilboa dollar bonds are up 0.5%.

Electronic defense contractor Elbit Systems (Nasdaq:ESLT) is edging up 0.1%. Q1 revenue came to $186 million, 4.5% short of $194.5 million that investment bank Lehman Brothers had expected. Earnings per share came to 29 cents, against the expected 32 cents. The bank noted that results met consensus estimates.

Magic Software Enterprises (Nasdaq:MGIC) is sustaining its 6.7% jump. The company posted $150,000 profit for Q1, after $42.8 million lost last year. In Q4 the company lost $27.8 million. The company related turning to profit to its reorganization in 2001.

Real-estate firm Gazit Globe is up 3.7% after a morning leap of 6.7%. The company has completed another offering, this time of NIS 134.4 million in bonds. A Gazit Globe subsidiary acquired bonds worth NIS 74 million, which leaves NIS 60.4 million sold to the public and institutional investors.

Agrochemicals firm Makhteshim Agan is down 1.9%. Revenue for Q1 came to $236 million, and profit was $20.7 million, stable compared with the parallel period in 2001.

Food giant Osem is off 1.5% after 0.6% morning gains. The company posted NIS 28.2 million profit for Q1, 6% up from the parallel. Sales shrank to NIS 521.2 million, 6% less than in the parallel. The drop is related to Passover this year falling in Q1, which meant less sales of pasta and pastry products in the reported period. In 2001, Passover fell in Q2. Drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is climbing 0.4%, digital recording systems maker Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) is up 0.3%.

Bank Leumi and Discount Bank are each down 2%, Bank Hapoalim is dropping 3.2%.

IDB Holding Corporation is off 0.8%, IDB Development Corporation is down 1.2%, Discount Investments is off 1.6%, Clal Industries is off 1.1%. Credit rating agency Maalot said that if Nochi Dankner uses Azorim to finance his bid for control of the IDB group, its A-rated corporate bond could slide as the move isn't synergetic.