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Tel Aviv blue-chips closed with a loss of about 1.6% on low turnover after two attacks in Jerusalem aggravated mild opening losses.

On Sunday Tel Aviv stocks corrected upward after several days of losses. Market players predicted before the opening that trade would be calm and mildly positive. But slim morning losses worsened after the body of an Israeli man from south Jerusalem was found in the neighboring Arab village of Beit Jalla and two security guards outside a

National Insurance Institute

outlet in Jerusalem were shot. One is in critical condition, and one has died of his wounds.


Maof 25

index lost 1.76% to 462.45 points, and the


index ended off 1.55% to 459.22. The


index fell by a milder 1.13%. Turnover was thin at 267 million shekels ($64.5 million).

Noam Kushlevitch from


investment house said earlier that press reports about fears of terrorist attacks on Israel's northern border and Israeli warnings of reprisals against Syrian targets, plus uncertainty regarding the national budget for 2001 -- due for submission to parliament today -- were certainly not contributing to investor confidence.

The banks lost ground on heavy turnover. Israel's biggest bank by

market cap,


, announced a dividend of 600 million shekels ($145.0 million) Thursday. Today it lost 2% on high turnover of 33 million shekels ($8.0 million). The No. 2 bank,

Bank Leumi

, sank 2.1% on a volume of 30 million shekels ($7.3 million).



phone company began the session 1% in the green on press reports that it is about to receive the

Communication Ministry's

blessing to provide high-speed Internet service. The approval would be because the phone company, until now a monopoly in the domestic market, agreed to allow future rivals access to its infrastructure. But for all the good news, Bezeq nonetheless ended 0.9% off on a moderate volume of 15.5 million shekels ($3.7 million).