Tel Aviv stocks were relatively resilient comparative to stocks elsewhere in the world, which sank on the accounting scandals rocking Wall Street. But the local indices still ended Wednesday with a negative bias.
Investors were cheered by Nasdaq contracts indicating a positive trend on Wall Street today, and Asia's markets are in the green.
The Maof-25, TA-100 and tech indices dipped by 0.7%, while banks edged up on pitiful total turnover of NIS 119 million.
DBM Investment House manager Rami Dror predicted that the low turnovers characterizing the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lately will continue throughout the summer. "Many traders and investors are on holiday," he commented.
He believes that share prices already incorporate the treasury's decision to base the 2003 budget on conservative growth estimate of 1%, in keeping with the Bank of Israel estimate of zero to 1% growth next year.
Until a few weeks ago treasury officials had been talking about 2.5% growth in 2003. The finance minister decided to opt for the safer estimate after the lancing he took from critics because of overly optimistic growth estimates for 2002.
Another factor that seems to be leaving investors totally unmoved is the massive government deficit reported yesterday - NIS 4.04 billion for June. That figure pushed up its deficit for the half-year to NIS 5.8 billion, which extrapolates to a 2002 deficit of 18 billion shekels about 5% of gross domestic product.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) fell 0.7% on NIS 15 million turnover, despite announcing FDA approval earlier this week for two forms of lisinopril, used to treat hypertension. The drugs are expected to produce sales of $80 million a year, and a net profit of $8 million.
Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE:PTNR, LSE:PCCD) lost almost 5% on top of the 7.4% it shed yesterday on heavy selling by Polar Investments. Polar sold 0.4% of Partner's share capital during the second quarter, on which it will be booking an NIS 16.2 million capital gain. Polar also sold 0.4% of Partner's share capital during the first quarter, yielding it NIS 19 million.
The Bezeq phone company gained 0.6% on NIS 5.4 million turnover as rumors swirl about executive shuffles. Its CEO, Ilan Biran, is reportedly fed up trying to organize the company's privatization. Tho Bezeq denies all, he's reportedly about to quit - and be replaced by David Milgrom, the former treasury budget director.
The weighty IDB group stocks were in the doghourse today, with IDB Holding down 1.1% and its sister firm IDB Development losing 0.6%. Clal Industries, another group member, fell 1.9% on thin turnover, and Discount Investment lost 1.9%.