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TASE indices have plunged since the morning, sliding an even deeper 2.5% in the afternoon, and closing in the red.

Market estimates were the expiry of the Maof options pressed the index down, contrary to the rises on European and the Nasdaq exchanges.

The Maof-25 closed down 2.13%, the Tel Aviv-100 slid 1.89% and the Tel-Tech lost a heftier 2.25%. Turnover came to a not too exciting NIS 200 million.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) lost 0.04% after earlier gaining 0.53% on NIS 20 million turnover. Major banks shares slipped. Hapoalim closed down 1.25%, and Bank Leumi dipped 1%.

Delta Galil lost 3% on turnover of NIS 2.8 million after announcing the Kmart bankruptcy will lead to a $3-4 million Q1 write off on Kmart's $6.4 million debt.

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Tower Semiconductor (Nasdaq:TSEM) lost 1% and may still be pressed down in spite of its successful $100 million funding round from institutionals who seem to believe the convertible bond is a better deal than the share because of its low conversion premium.

AudioCodes (Nasdaq:AUDC) lost 10% on NIS 500,000 turnover on negative activity and in spite of reduced loss compared with Q3.

Partner Communications (Nasdaq:PTNR) lost 2.9% on news the Dankner group was negotiating to sell its stake in Partner to Hutchison Whampoa, in order take the pressure off the Partner share, as the deal will be done off market. Polar Communication has already sold NIS 19 million worth of its s hares in Partner. Matav Cable Systems (Nasdaq:MATV) lost 1.2% on NIS 2.3 million turnover.

Metalink (Nasdaq:MTLK) plunged 4.8% on negative arbitrage gap. The company will post its Q4 results tomorrow, showing a a sales increase to $1.7 million from $1.3 million in the previous quarter, but still a lower than its $7.3 million sales in the same quarter last year.

IDB shares also closed on the decline. IDB Holdings slipping 3.5%, IDB Development closed down 3%, Discount Investment shed 3.2% and Clal Industries fell 3.3%.

Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) lost 1.5% on NIS 4 million turnover. The company today announced Britain's NATS (National Air Traffic Service) chose to install its voice recording systems, the NiceLog and the NiceCall in several airports statewide. NATS provides air traffic control services to 14 airports in Britain.