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Tel Aviv stocks flat Monday mid-day

Market awaits Bank of Israel announcement on key lending rates due at 16:30

Tel Aviv stocks are trading with tiny positive bias Monday mid-day as the market awaits Bank of Israel Governor David Klein announcement on key lending rates due at 16:30 today.

The Maof-25 blue chip index and the TA-100 index are each up 0.1%, while technology shares are off 0.3%. Total volume is very low at NIS 64 million.

Investment bank Investec expects drops to continue, breaking through the 415-point technical support level to 400 points. Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is off 0.4% on the session's biggest turnover, NIS 12 million.

IDB Holding Corporation is up 0.5% and Kardan is rising 0.4%, following estimates that Kardan might renew negotiations for acquiring control in the IDB group. This depends on whether Oudi Recanati will agree to lower the price of his IDB shares.

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Bank Hapoalim is up 0.4%, Bank Leumi is off 0.6%, Bank Discount is down 0.6%, and Mizrahi Bank is trading unchanged.

Bank drops are attributed to the announcement by Supervisor of Banks Yitzhak Tal that banks should only distribute dividends this year in special cases. Tal said that dividend distribution should reflect economic developments in coming years, and not depend only on current profitability.

Market players said that investors who regard investment in bank stocks as investment in bonds with positive dividend yield, may not acquire such shares due to Tal's demand.

Alony Hetz Properties & Investments is up 1% after yesterday closing up 3.3%. The income-bearing real estate firm yesterday estimated that it ended 2001 with NIS 27 million earnings, 10% less than in 2000. The company expects a sharp rise in cash flow, to NIS 40 million, compared with NIS 23 million in 2000 and announced a dividend of 22 agorot per share, which comes to 4.3% yield per share.

Electronics firm Lipman is up 0.3% after signing another agreement worth some $4 million with the Spanish company Unitech. Lipman will provide Unitech cellular payment terminals.