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Bank Leumi stock closed down 1.2% on the day's highest turnover of NIS 25 million after the treasury decision to privatize it via the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange sent it spiraling throughout the session.

Trade was otherwise largely dull as investors clung to the fence awaiting the outcome of the anthrax scare in the United States ¿ not to mention in Israel. Worried citizens in Israel too have been bringing mail from unidentified sources to security authorities for testing.

The Maof-25 index closed down 1.35% and the TA-100 index shed 1.2%, while tech stocks slipped 0.76%. Trading volumes totaled an unexciting NIS 191 million.

Leumi was the story of the day after the treasury decision to privatize it via the TASE. Investors expected a titanic struggle between insurer Shlomo Eliyahu, who already holds 9.04% of the bank's stock, and Migdal Insurance, which has 9.64%. Both require Bank of Israel permission to increase their holdings beyond 10%, but are expected to try to increase their stakes in the days to come.

Rival bank Hapoalim closed unchanged even though market talk had it trading cheap all session long. Elite stock gained 1.8% after the company revealed plans to reduce its headquarters staff by 21 people. This year Elite stock has dropped 33%, inducing shareholders to repurchase stock.

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Scitex Corporation (Nasdaq:SCIX)lost 5.1% on news it was about to pre-announce an earnings warning, after CreoScitex (in which Scitex holds 27%) warned that its Q3 revenues will be only $140 million to $145 million, against earlier expectations of $145 million to $150 million. Moreover, Nur Macroprinters (Nasdaq:NURM) has stepped away from plans to take over Scitex subsidiary Scitex Vision.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) closed down a hefty 2%. Yesterday the Meitav brokerage reported that Teva has retained its crown as the most popular stock among Israel's mutuals.

Koor Industries (Nasdaq:KOR) lost a chunky 4%. Yesterday its subsidiary Makhteshim-Agan Industries reported completion of its $150 million securitization agreement with Bank of America. Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) closed up 1% on a turnover of NIS 4.4 million, following promises it will meet third-quarter forecasts.

The Delek Group lost 5.2% after reporting the failure of its natural gas drills off the Vietnamese coast.

IDB shares were mixed. IDB Holdings shed 0.6%, Discount Investments lost 2% and Clal Industries lost 2.8%.