Tel Aviv stocks cut steeper morning gains to end a dull Monday session with a negative bias. Traders blamed the blah on the defense and finance ministers' failure to compromise on cutting Israel's defense budget, which comprises 20% of the total government expenditure.

The Maof-25 index finished down 0.5% and the Tel Aviv-100 index lost 0.4%, while tech stocks sagged by 0.4%. Total turnover was slim at NIS 174 million, around the norm for dull summer trade.

Bank Discount stock rose by 4.6% on rumors that Bank Hapoalim is negotiating to buy Israel Discount Bank of New York, the Discount group's main cash cow. Bank Hapoalim itself is down 1.7%.

The Bezeq phone company lost 1% after its board yesterday decided not to announce its position on the withdrawal of commitment by Shamrock Holdings. Namely:

When buying 50% of Bezeq subsidiary Pele-Phone Communications, Shamrock had undertaken at the behest of Israeli regulators not to try to buy the controlling interest in Bezeq itself, to avoid appearances of abusing insider information. But the Israeli regulators changed their mind and agreed to allow Shamrock to contend over Bezeq. Shamrock and ex-Israeli billionaire Haim Saban are allying to try to take over Bezeq from the state.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) ended down 0.9% after sharp gains, fueled by its long list of approvals. Its most recent was for oxaprozin, the copycat version of Daypro, made by New Jersey's Pharmacia Corporation (NYSE:PHA). It recently also got FDA approval for its ANDA for Tizanidine, in 2 and 4 milligram tablets, used to treat muscular spasticity. The proprietary drug sells for $178 million a year. On July 1 the FDA approved two forms of lisinopril, used to treat hypertension. The drugs are expected to produce sales of $80 million a year, and a net profit of $8 million.

IDB Holding Corporation rebounded from a 1.6% morning dip to end 1.5% in the green. Its sister company IDB Development Corporation didn't and ended down 0.1%. Discount Investments reversed steep morning losses to finish up 0.8% and Clal Industries cut its afternoon malaise to end down 0.9%.