Tel Aviv stocks finished Monday session with mild 1% loss after attack on Gaza

Stocks had been inching closer to the flatline when news of the mission hit the floor, intensifying the losses
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Tel Aviv stocks closed down 0.8% on Monday, showing resilience in the face of serial negative influences: drops on Europe's bourses, pessimistic Nasdaq futures, and escalating hostilities after Israel responded to the terror attacks on Saturday and Sunday by bombing Gaza. The missile attack on Gaza started shortly before closing.

The session had opened with 0.4% gains but blue chip indices quickly slid to a mid-day low of 1.4%. The leading indices stayed in the red for the rest of the session, but were inching back to the flatline when news of the Gaza attack hit the floor.

The Maof-25 index of blue chips ended down 0.8% to 401.5 points, and the TA-100 index closed off 0.4% to 386.9 points. Tech stocks actually climbed 0.6%. Total turnover was low at NIS 167 million.

Scitex (Nasdaq:SCIX) gained 3.4%, having reversed early losses after broke the news that an American firm offered to buy Scitex Digital Printing for $150 million cash. Scitex is expected to reject the offer as too low, though.

Makhteshim Agan's 6-year notes were at the center stage, closing up 0.9% on the session's biggest turnover, NIS 18.6 million. Trade in the notes started yesterday.

Makhteshim Agan five-year options gained 9% on an NIS 4.7 million volume of trade. The gains were attributed to the low exercise premium of the notes and options. Makhteshim Agan shares closed off 0.6% on NIS 7.1 million turnover.

Makhteshim Agan's parent company Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) closed off 2.1% after opening with 1.1% gains. Yesterday the press reported that the Ofer and Dovrat families are negotiating to buy a 12.5% stake in Koor affiliate ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL).

Bank Hapoalim finished with an 0.9% loss. Investment house Nessuah Zannex rated it a Buy, and set a price target of NIS 10.78, 27% above the market. Analyst Ronit Goodman said that as of today there is no concern about the bank's stability. But concerns may arise if the economic situation doesn't pick up within two years, she wrote.

The First International Bank of Israel dipped 0.4%. Investment house Gmul Sahar rated it a Hold and set a price target of NIS 25.2, 10% above the market. Gmul Sahar notes that the bank has not yet received the approval of the Supervisor of Banks to avoid special provisions totaling NIS 88 million for the fourth quarter.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) closed off 0.2%, Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) closed up 1.6%, Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) gained 0.5%, and Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) climbed 1.8%. Elbit Systems (Nasdaq:ESLT) gained 2%.

Bank Leumi closed off 0.9%, and Mizrahi Bank closed up 0.1%. Bank Discount closed unchanged.

IDB Holding Corporation and IDB Development Corporation each closed off 1.3%, Discount Investments dropped 0.7%, and Clal Industries closed off 1.3%.