Tel Aviv stocks are starting the week steady, on the tiny turnover that has characterized the market lately.
The talk of the floor today is the impending budget cut of another two billion shekels. Traders take the cut, which comes on the heels of an NIS 13 billion economic package and serial interest rate rises, as indicative of the government finally trying to take control of the economic reins.
The consumer price index rise of 0.9% for May, published on Friday, was within expectations and could boost stock prices, traders say. Nasdaq trade Friday was turbulent, however, starting with a 3% slide but ending up 0.55%, which could unnerve the delicate of mind in Tel Aviv.
The Maof-25 index and Tel Aviv-100 index are both starting on gains of a fraction of a point while technology stocks are up 0.4%.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is hopping as usual, rising 1% on turnover of NIS 1.5 million. The total turnover at opening is a painfully thin NIS 7 million. The drug giant started on at arbitrage gap of 1.1%.
Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE:PTNR, LSE:PCCD) is slipping 3.2% after starting on a negative spread with Nasdaq of 4%. This morning TheMarker revealed that the Antitrust Authority is probing Partner and Israel's two other major cellular providers on suspicions of price-fixing.
Chemicals company Makhteshim Agan Industries ended last week down 4.2%, but is rebounding this morning with a 1.1% gain. Traders blamed its Thursday slide to a profit warning from Monsanto, the world's third-biggest agrochemicals company, which blamed its travails on South America. MAI protested that it shouldn't be punished because it does less business there and made provisions for what business it does do.
UBS Warburg analyst Stephen Levey, unimpressed by the Monsanto warning, said he feels comfortable with Makhteshim's forecasts of 18-cent profits per share. He reiterated a Buy rating for the company and target of NIS 10.7, some 42% above its market price.