Tel Aviv stocks closed a roller-coaster Wednesday with 0.8% gains, as investors steered between local tensions and news, a booster from Europe's bourses and Nasdaq's 0.5% opening dip.
Stocks started with mild gains that peaked at about 0.6%, but then sank to a low of minus 0.3%. Gains in Europe helped reverse the trend again.
The Maof-25 index of blue chips closed up 0.83%, and the TA-100 index climbed 0.7%. Tech stocks rose 1%. Total turnover was slim at NIS 200 million.
Bank Hapoalim gained 1.7% on NIS 16 million turnover despite a negative research update by UBS Warburg on Israel's major banks. But Hapoalim received the only price target upgrade, of NIS 9.7, 16.8% above the market.
Bank Leumi closed down 0.1%, reversing a tiny gain sustained for most of the session. Yesterday UBS set its target at NIS 6.7, 11.3% below its market level. Meanwhile, it appears that financier Shlomo Eliyahu has not given up on accumulating Leumi shares. He reportedly bought another NIS 15.7 million worth of the bank's equity last week.
Tower Semiconductor (Nasdaq:TSEM) climbed 1.5% after the Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed a compromise regarding a frozen NIS 8 million grant for the company's Fab 1. The state froze the grant after Tower decided to cut rather than create jobs, but softened its stance to compromise on a two-year freeze on sales and workforce targets. It might even agree to 20 to 30 job cuts, though Tower has slated 170 people for the ax.
Scitex (Nasdaq:SCIX) dropped 2.5% after yesterday announcing a $41 million loss for Q3, and revenue of $66.6 million, 14% more than in the parallel.
Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) closed up 0.6% after yesterday losing 1.5%. It was boosted earlier in the week by affiliate ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL), but yesterday suffered from profit-taking.
Clal Insurance closed up 0.8% despite revealing that an insurance agent is suspected of embezzling NIS 19 million from affiliate Arieh Insurance. The agent fled Israel last week.
Building materials maker Ytong, controlled by IDB group company Azorim, gained 7.8% after announcing an NIS 65 million dividend. Turnover is a NIS 2.3 million, very high for this normally non-negotiable share.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) closed up 0.2% on the session¿s biggest turnover of NIS 70 million, after a morning dip.
Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) gained 6%, correcting recent losses. Formula shares have lost 45% since the transfer of control at the end of August.
IDB group stocks closed mixed. IDB Holding Corporation slipped 0.3%, IDB Development Corporation gained 1.2%, and Discount Investments climbed 2.9%. Clal Industries closed up 1% after Bank Hapoalim's downgraded it yesterday from Buy to Hold, setting a price target of NIS 22. Clal Industries today closed at NIS 21.5.