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Tel Aviv stocks cut Sunday morning gains, end day on positive bias

Investors came to realize the understanding between Israel and Palestinians is insignificant

Tel Aviv stocks closed Sunday with minusclue gains of 0.3%. The Maof-25 blue chip index closed up 0.3% to 417 points and the TA-100 index closed with 0.1% gains to 401.2 points. Technology shares dropped 2%. Total turnover was low at some NIS 145 million.

Stocks gained up to 1.8% at opening, which players attributed to the relative calm in the fighting in the region. The gains were also affected by reports of an understanding reached between senior Israeli and Palestinians officials, and that Israel would freeze its targeted assassinations of Palestinian terrorists, as well as air strikes against Palestinian targets. The reports said that the Palestinians would make an effort to curb terror.

But stocks failed to sustain opening gains, apparently because investors had come to realize that despite the reports, a dramatic development is unlikely.

At around 15:00 blue chips turned to losses following the cabinet decision that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would still not be allowed to leave Ramallah, after three months of confinement.

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Elbit Systems closed down 0.7% on NIS 3 million turnover despite announcing it has won a Defense Ministry contract to provide radar systems to the Israel Air Force.

Bezeq phone company dropped 1.5% on NIS 10 million volume. Bezeq has dropped 7% since last Tuesday, when it said it expects its 2001 results will be negatively affected by the markedly steeper losses in wireless subsidiary Pele-Phone. Bezeq said Pele-Phone is expected to report one-time write-offs on capital equipment in Q4. Bezeq said this doesn't indicate deteriorated operations.

Alony Hetz Properties & Investments jumped 6.6% on NIS 1 million volume. The income-bearing real estate firm today announced that it ended 2001 with NIS 27 million earnings, 10% less than in 2000. The company expect cash flow to sharply drop to NIS 40 million, compared with NIS 23 million in 2000. The company announced dividends of 22 agorot per share, which comes to 4.3% yield per share.

Electronics firm Lipman closed off 1.3% on NIS 2 million turnover. On Thursday, Lipman rose by 3.6% after posting NIS 265.8 million revenue for 2001, 7% more than in 2000, and NIS 50.5 million profit, 70% higher than in 2000.

IDB group stocks closed with gains. IDB Holding Corporation closed up 1.7%, IDB Development Corporation closed with 2.2% gains, Discount Investments climbed 0.8%, and Clal Industries closed up 1.7%. Yedioth Ahronoth today reported that real-estate tycoon Larry Silverstein is in preliminary talks with IDB Holdings Chairman and CEO Leon Recanati, for investing in the group.