After yesterday's sharp drops, TASE returned today to trade in green territory with leading indices up about 1% on low volume of NIS 170 million.
The Maof-25 blue chip index closed up 1.2% to 380.4 points and the TA-100 also added 1.2% to 367.1 points. Technology shares hiked up 2.6% to 218.99 points.
Market analysts noted that Tel Aviv opened up with positive winds from Nasdaq at its back and the IDF leaving Hebron. In the afternoon, European markets turned slightly lower on news Sun Microsystems president Ed Zander will step down this spring. Tel Aviv's mood slipped a bit then.
Teva (Nasdaq: TEVA) gained 1.1% on the market's highest turnover, NIS 34 million, overtaking most of the positive arbitrage spread with which the company started the day. Teva earned another good analyst's report today as CIBC Oppenheimer rated the share "strong buy" and gave a $85 price target, 50% above market. Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank both also raised their Teva estimates.
Discount Investments recovered 0.7% on the sale of subsidiary Albar Leasing for NIS 268.5 million, a deal expected to yield NIS 40 million in capital gains for Discount.
The rest of the IDB group also sailed along on the back of the Albar deal with IDB Holdings seeing a 0.8% rise and IDB Development up 0.5%, despite the rating downgrade from Maalot on its corporate bonds from AA+ to AA.
Clal Industries closed up 0.8% as Maalot announced that it is looking at the ratings of corporate bonds both from Clal and from Discount Investments.
The two major banks showed their mettle today. Bank Hapoalim added on 0.9% and Bank Leumi an even heavier 1.5% after the whole banking sector took a hit on Sunday from the collapse of Trade Bank. Merrill Lynch today told international investors the risks outweigh potential rewards in investing in Israeli banks, giving much stronger ratings to the banks in other emerging markets.
Israel Chemicals traded up by as much as 1.3%, after announcing the acquisition of British company Cleveland Potash for $45 million, but closed unchanged.
The communications sector headed up with Bezeq gaining 1.7% and Partner (Nasdaq: PTNR) up 0.3%.
Among the dual-listed shares, Retalix (Nasdaq: RTLX) slid 0.3% despite good financials reported yesterday. On the other hand, Audiocodes (Nasdaq: AUDC) picked up a heavy 6.8% after starting the day with 7.6% positive arbitrage. Formula gained 4.7% on unusually6 high turnover of NIS 6 million.
Companies in the Tethys Sea Partnership posted nice gains after yesterday¿s reports that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who also serves an National Infrastructures Minister, granted them a license to establish and operate a natural gas pipeline from oil rigs in the Mari production area to the city of Ashdod. Participation units in Avner closed up 1.8% and in Delek Drilling, 1.2%