Tel Aviv stocks are are down only 1% Wednesday in early afternoon. Steeper morning losses of 1.4% moderated despite the spate of terrorist incidents today.
The morning losses were triggered by a bomb blast near Kfar Saba, which killed three and wounded at least four people. Other bombs placed at the markets of Netanya and Petah Tikvah were found by alert citizens and detonated by police robots. No damage or injuries were reported. In other incidents, two border policemen were wounded in a stone-throwing incident by the Arab town of Jenin and shots were fired at an Israeli bus traveling bear Beit El.
The Maof 25-index of blue chips is down 1.1% to 396.04 points and the TA-100 index is off 1% to 386.66 points. Technology shares are shedding a steeper 1.58%. Total turnover is thin at NIS 103 million.
The negative mood may be aggravated later in the session by Nasdaq futures pointing at 2.5% losses on Wall Street.
Investment house Tamir Fishman investment manager David Levy doesn't foresee a rally in share prices until economic indicators show a reversal to economic growth. He believes the escalating hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians are responsible for the drops on the market. But, he points out, the fighting isn't new and in the end, the market will be affected by corporate reports and macroeconomic data.
On the floor, phone company Bezeq is off 2.8% on NIS 12 million volume of trade, the session's biggest turnover as of writing.
Bank Leumi is up 0.6% after the bank released today its financial results. The bank's profit in 2000 rose 24.4% to NIS 1.605 billion, compared with 1999. The profit is somewhat lower than the record profit released by Bank Hapoalim several days ago. Leumi's fourth-quarter profit dropped to NIS 339 million, compared with NIS 346 million in the same quarter in 1999.
Hapoalim is off 0.7% and Discount is diving 3%. Discount has not released its results as yet.
Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) is down 3.3% to NIS 44. In the last 12 months, the shares have lost 85%. Investment house UBS believes the shares are very near the rock-bottom price. The bank cut the price target to just $13, 18% more than the market price.
Pharmaceuticals company Agis is dropping 4% after posting NIS 3.3 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2000. Annual net profit shrunk 20% due to the slowdown in the sale of drugs to the local market.
Insurance company Migdal is sliding 2.3%, thus completing an aggregate drop of 17% as of the beginning of the year. Bank Hapoalim downgraded Migdal to Hold in light of the expected increase in the early redemption of life-insurance policies, the dire state of the capital market and the slowdown in all macroeconomic parameters that is expected to plunge the economy to a deep recession in 2001.
Dual-listed shares are mixed despite opening on positive arbitrage gaps. Elron Electronic Industries (Nasdaq:ELRNF) is diving 4.6%, Metalink (Nasdaq:MTLK) is rising by 1.7%, and Magic, which opened on a huge positive arbitrage gap of 8.8%, is trading unchanged. Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is dipping by 0.6%, and Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) is shedding 1.5%. IDB Development is adding 1.7% on NIS 9.3 million volume of trade. IDB Holdings is rising 1.5%.