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The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has begun the last trading day of 2000 with mild losses. Investors attribute the dip to further escalation in violence. This morning two people were killed and another five injured, all members of one family, in a terrorist attack near the town of Ofrah in the West Bank.

Last Thursday 15 people were wounded in a bomb attack on a bus in central Tel Aviv, and two IDF soldiers lost their lives in another attack near Gaza.

Back at the floor, the Maof-25 index of blue chips is off 1% to 507 points, and the TA-100 index is shedding 0.8% to 490.4 points. The Tel-Tech technology index is sliding by 4.7%. Total turnover so far is moderate NIS 50 million.

Technology shares are being pulled down by

Nice Systems

(Nasdaq:NICE), which is plunging 40% on NIS 20 million turnover, after opening on a similar negative arbitrage gap. Nice released a revenue and earnings warning on December 28, saying it would lose more than expected in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2000. The company said that revenues in the fourth quarter would come to $39 million to $40 million, compared with Piper Jaffray's forecast of around $50 million. Nice also said that it would lose six cents per share, against forecast earnings of 58 cents.

The company attributes its fourth quarter shortfall to the slumping IT market in the United States.

Following the company's warning, investment houses covering the company downgraded the company's ratings and slashed their price targets.

Teva Pharmaceuticals

(Nasdaq:TEVA) is rising 3% after starting on a similar positive arbitrage gap.

Mashov Computers is jumping 18% on lively action following the tender offer issued by

Formula Systems

(Nasdaq:FORTY) for all its shares. Formula is offering NIS 9 per share, 21% higher than the market. Formula chairman Dan Goldstein said that there is no point in both Mashov Computers and Formula Stystems being traded on the TASE.

Formula Systems is off 7% on lively action, after opening on a similar negative arbitrage gap.