Leading Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indices are sinking sharply at midday. Blue chips are falling hard on low total turnover of NIS 90 million after further drops on Wall Street on Wednesday.

The Maof-25 index is slipping 2.6% to 391.23 points, and the TA-100 is down 2.55% to 382.91 points. The Tel-Tech is off by a sharper 3.3%.

The factors pulling down Tel Aviv stocks are the negative trend in European markets and Nasdaq futures, said traders. They added that arbitrage speculators are attacking the market in waves, selling strong and pushing the indicators to new lows.

The phone company Bezeq is slipping 2.2% on the session's highest turnover, NIS 10 million.

Bank Hapoalim is losing 1.8% on NIS 9 million turnover following the release of its year 2000 financial reports. Last year marked record earnings by the bank, which grew 15% from 1999 and came to NIS 1.6 billion. But its growth slowed in the fourth quarter. Earnings grew not at all from the previous, staying at just over NIS 390 million.

Bank Hapoalim is pulling down the other banks too. Bank Leumi is slipping 1.8% on NIS 6 million turnover, Israel Discount Bank is losing 3.7%, Mizrahi Bank is losing 2.6% and First International Bank of Israel is slipping 2.1%.

IDB group stocks are losing more ground today. Clal Electronics is slipping 3% at midday, while Discount Investments is sinking 5%. Clal Industries is off by 4.6%, IDB Holdings is slipping 3.6% and IDB Development is losing 3.8%.

Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) is shedding 4.8% at this time on NIS 3.3 million turnover. After yesterday's gains, influenced by a report in TheMarker.com that Canadian company Nortel (NYSE:NT) is negotiating to acquire the LightScape division from ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL), Koor is succumbing to its financial statement released last night. The company reported losing $68 million in the fourth quarter of 2000, compared with $59 million earnings in the equivalent quarter.

Dual-listed stocks are sinking sharply, with Tower Semiconductors (Nasdaq:TSEM) and Magic Software Enterprises (Nasdaq:MGIC) sinking 7.5% and Metalink (Nasdaq:MTLK) plunging 8.3%. Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) is also shedding 6.4% to NIS 46 a price last quoted for it on April 1996. Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) is losing 6% and Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) is off by 4.1%.

The participating units of Tethys Sea partnership are joining the sharp drops in the market. Avner's stock, which yesterday plunged 7.7%, is now plunging an additional 7.3%, while Delek Drilling is shedding 8.1% after yesterday losing 6%. Tethys Sea-related stocks picked up recently after the Israel Electric Corporation announced it may after all buy most of its gas needs from the partners, instead of from an Egyptian group.