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Slight rises have been registered for the second day running in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Trade was dull, with low turnover, although it picked up slightly towards closing. Traders pointed out that as Wall Street does not open tonight due to Christmas, anticipation of tomorrow's opening on Wall Street causes the low turnovers.

The positive bias strengthened with closing. The Maof-25 index finished up 0.56% to 518.41 points and the TA-100 index went up 0.39% to 497.06 points. In contrast, the Tel-Tech index finished 1.5% off. Total turnover was thin at NIS 185 million.

Nessuah Zannex co-CEO Elie Nahum today said that low tradability on TASE stems from two factors. "First, there's little floating capital on TASE in any case, and the quantity traded on TASE is mostly held by strong hands' such as public institutions. The bottom line is the low turnover we see," said Nahum.

He predicts things will only pick up if the public will go back to investing in stock. Traders speculate that such a return of the public could lead to a monetary relaxation by the Bank of Israel next year.

Stocks of note: Mashov Computers plunged 10% on lively turnover. Bank stocks went up on lively turnovers and Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) stood out for dropping against a buoyant market.

Bank Hapoalim continued to enjoy higher returns than the rest of the market in general and the banking sector in particular. Hapoalim gained 1.3% on the session's highest turnover, NIS 17 million. Bank Hapoalim has recently been enjoying favorable ratings from investment houses, which speculate that the plunge in the stock was motivated by political uncertainties, and has no financial justification.

Also in the banking sector, Bank Leumi rose 0.9% on lively turnover, and Mizrahi Bank gained 0.6%. Tefahot Israel Mortgage Bank, in which Mizrahi Bank holds 86%, today announced a NIS 130 million dividend. Mizrahi Bank's share of the dividend comes to NIS 112 million.

Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) lost 1.25% on high turnover. The share has been slammed by the earnings warning issued by subsidiary ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL)two weeks ago. CIBC Oppenheimer investment bank yesterday downgraded the ECI's rating from Buy to Hold, pointing out that conditions in the market make it hard to raise money and go public, and that this together with ECI's high uncertainty level, make for a shaky start for the split-up process of the company.

Israel Chemicals was lifted as Merrill Lynch initiated coverage of the company, rising 0.9% on high turnover. The bank's analysis was quite warm although it rated the share an Accumulate.