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Tel Aviv stocks close up 0.5% on Thursday on hefty turnover

Teva closed with mild gains after FDA tentative approval for anthrax antidote

Tel Aviv stocks closed up 0.5% on Thursday on big turnover of NIS 675 million. The Maof-25 index of blue chips gained 0.5%, the TA-100 index climbed 0.9%, and technology shares rose by 0.2%.

Blue chips gained 1% at opening, and toward 14:00 were rising by 3%, but later gains were moderated.

Blue chips have gained an aggregate 17% in the last two weeks, after the announcement of a 2% cut in lending rates.

Market players said that the present mood is reminiscent of 1999 when most shares posted sharp gains. The players estimate that a bullish market is ahead, but also expect to soon see sessions marked by sales, which indeed marked part of today's session.

Israel Chemicals closed down 1%, Suny Electronic dropped 4.1% and Tadiran Wireless Communication Industries closed off 1%.

Eylon Geda, who heads the economic division of Ilanot Batucha investment house, estimated that as long as the lending rate remains at the present level the public understands that it is not worthwhile investing in shekel-based instruments, and that it should turn to investing in stocks.

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Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) closed up 0.2% on the session's biggest turnover, NIS 70 million. Teva opened with a negative arbitrage spread. The company has received a tentative okay from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market generic versions of Bayer's anthrax antidote Ciprofloxacin in 250 milligram, 500 milligram and 700 milligram tablets, once Bayer's patent runs out in 2003.

Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) closed up 1.3% after rising 5% earlier. The gains are attributed to the sharp gains posted by affiliate company ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL) on Nasdaq on Wednesday. Koor subsidiary, Clal Industries, closed down 0.6%, after posting gains most of the session.

Engineering group Baran dropped 6.1%. Satellite TV firm YES has filed a NIS 100 million claim against Baran. YES claims that Baran has charged for works never carried out, and that Baran presented it with inflated equipment prices.

Insurance company Phoenix 1 shares jumped 6.2%. Talks to sell control in the company have reached advanced stages.

Elbit Medical Imaging (Nasdaq:EMITF) closed up 1.9%, completing an aggregate gain of 10% over the last three trading days.

Bank Hapoalim closed off 0.1% after a 2.5% climb on Wednesday. Bank Leumi rose by 0.2% on NIS 30 million turnover.