Tel Aviv stocks finished Monday mixed with a positive bias as uncertainty roiled the market ahead of the Bank of Israel decision on July lending rates.
Leading indices rose by a gentle 0.3% in a correction to the Sunday slump, but total turnover was low at NIS 152 million.
Stocks tumbled on Sunday as the public fled shekel-based investment vehicles and Israel drafted reserves on escalating hostilities with the Palestinians. The leading indices, the Maof-25 index and the Tel Aviv-100 index, fell below the psychologically important benchmark of 350 points on Sunday, but rallied today despite the turgidity of the session.
The uncertainties were exacerbated by an anticipated announcement of interest rates for July this afternoon at 16:30. The rate rise, when it came, was 2%, at the upper level of expectations.
Pundits had warned that a rate rise of less than that might not help shore up the shekel, which has been eroding against the dollar and is near an all-time low.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) lost small early gains to end unchanged on turnover of NIS 24.3 million. The company said today that it received Israeli antitrust permission to buy an Italian chemicals plant.
The big banks finished in the green, correcting some of their losses on Sunday, when the banking index lost about 2.5%. Hapoalim gained 1.5% on turnover of almost NIS 10 million. Bank Leumi rose by 0.9%. Bank Discount lost its morning gain to finish just below the flatline and Mizrahi ended flat.
Israel Chemicals stood out with an 0.9% gain after presenting improved results for its first quarter. Its parent company Israel Corporation is also enjoying the boon, with an 0.8% gain at the start of trade.