Leading indices in Tel Aviv are losing ground at mid-morning following Monday's escalation in hostilities.

The Maof-25 index of blue chips is down 2.3% to 489.91 points and the TA-100 index is off 2.2% to 474.4% points. The Tel-Tech technology index is diving 3.1%. Total turnover is NIS 75 million.

After Monday night's car bomb attack at Netanya, Prime Minister Ehud Barak said that it would be impossible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians before the end of Clinton's term.

National phone company Bezeq is down 0.7% on NIS 9.5 million, session's highest turnover over so far. Bank Hapoalim is sliding 3% on NIS 8 million.

But Nice Systems (Nasdaq: NICE) is up 0.3% on NIS 3 million. Yesterday the shares gained 1.4% after losing over 60% on the company's fourth quarter earnings warning.

Oil shares are weak this morning. Isramco participation units are getting hammered by 14.5% over NIS 3 million. The company announced on Sunday that it is abandoning its offshore exploration west of Netanya. The stock lost 25% in the last two trading days. Avner participation units are down 8.6% in spite of recent gains.

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Naaman Porcelain is up 3.6% on low volume. This morning the Israel daily


reported that Naaman will soon complete its merger with Soltam. Naaman is to allocate 10% of its shares to Soltam. The deal is to be effected at a price of NIS 15 per Naaman share, 140% over market price.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is losing 0.7% on high volume, in spite of a 2.4% positive arbitrage spread.

Yitzhak Tshuva joins the jet-setters

Chairman Yitzhak Tshuva has decided that he needs an executive jet to handle the Delek group's increasing activities abroad. His group of companies will therefore pay $23 million for a plane. The cost will be shared between Delek the Israel Fuel Corporation, Delek Motors and the TASE-traded Y.T. America Israel Investment Company. Delek Motors' parent company, the TASE-traded Delek Automotive, said the plane will be paid for in instalments.