Tel Aviv stocks are down by about 1.5% in early afternoon trade on Tuesday.

Traders attribute the drops to Nasdaq's drops on Monday, and to the news that Israeli military forces yesterday seized a boat in Gaza found to be smuggling ammunition to the Palestinians.

The Maof-25 index is down 1.47% to 426.28 points and the TA-100 index is off 1.3% to 418.08 points. Technology stocks are falling 2.2%. Total turnover is thin at NIS 92 million.

DBM Investment House CEO Rami Dror this morning said that the increasing standard deviation of options shows that speculators on the Maof-25 index have not achieved consensus on where the market is heading. Most believe that the market will hover around its present level.

Dror also noted that yesterday the Knesset ratified the decrease in purchase tax on air conditioners. He expects Electra Consumer Products shares to rise today. Electra is a major provider of air conditioners. In fact, an hour after opening, Electra is down 1%.

Discount Investments is dropping 2.2% and Clal Industries is losing 3.1% after reports yesterday that IDB Holding Chairman and CEO Leon Recanati plans to merge the two companies. Yesterday, Discount Investments CEO Yoram Turbowicz announced his resignation. Turbowicz has been replaced by Ami Erel, president of Elron Electronic Industries (Nasdaq:ELRNF). UBS Warburg today upgraded Discount Investments from Reduce to Hold. Elron won a reiterated Buy rating.

The IDB group recently revealed it will be merging Clal Electronics and Clal Industries.


Yedioth Ahronoth

reported that the IDB group is negotiating to sell the control in American Israeli Paper Mills (AMEX:AIP), which is owned by Clal Industries and Discount Investments. AIPM's market value is NIS 900 million. The IDB group has been selling off its non-tech holdings. It recently sold its holdings in paint manufacturer Tambour to Granite Hacarmel for $109 million.

IDB Development Corporation is down 2.1%. IDB Holdings is losing 0.5% after adding 1% earlier.

Dual-listed shares are trading on a negative bias after opening on negative arbitrage gaps. Magic Software Enterprises (Nasdaq:MGIC) is off 2.5%, Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) is dropping 3.7%, Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) is down 3.5%, and Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) is falling 4% despite opening on a positive arbitrage gap. Tower Semiconductor (Nasdaq:TSEM) is down 1.7%.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is gaining 0.7% on NIS 10 million volume of trade.

Elbit Systems (Nasdaq:ESLT) is rising by 0.5% after today announcing that its first-quarter 2001 net profit grew to $10.6 million, 37% more than in the first quarter of 2000. But the first-quarter 2001 results incorporate earnings from El-Op Electro-Optics Industries, which have been consolidated with Elbit Systems' results from the third quarter of 2000.

The Israel Corporation is down 0.4% after announcing that it is planning to raise $73 million by issuing bonds to the public.

PCB is dropping 3.6% even though it announced that its subsidiary Camtek (Nasdaq:CAMT) netted $3.1 million in the first quarter of 2001, 79% above its performance in the first quarter of 2000.

Revenues rose to $16.8 million, 55% higher than in the first quarter of 2000 - but lower than the net profit it achieved in the fourth quarter of 2000. PCB owns 68% of Camtek.