Tel Aviv stocks rose into the green following two days of losses, after the state statistician reported that September CPI rose only 0.2%, far below consensus expectations of a 0.5% gain. Israeli investors were also cheered by gains in exchanges abroad.
But turnover was moderate as investors wait out the anthrax scare sweeping the world. Not that any evidence of the bugs has been found outside the U.S.
The Maof-25 index finished up 2.7% and the TA-100 index rose 2.3%, lifted mainly by dual-listed shares. The Tel-Tech index gained 1.8%. Market players said the gap between the Maof and other indices demonstrates that investors are selecting negotiable stocks, evidently fearing further blows - including possible terror attacks on the U.S. - to come.
The Bezeq phone company rallied from heavy morning sales by foreign investors to a steep gain of 2.4%.
All eyes were on Bank Leumi, after the state yesterday said it will gradually privatize its holding via the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Insurance tycoon Shlomo Eliyahu and Italian insurance company Generali are expected to vie over Leumi shares; both own something over 9% already.
Leumi stock gained 1% while rival Bank Hapoalim jumped 3.5%. Migdal rose 2% and fellow insurance company Clal Insurance ended up 3.4%.
Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX) rose 3.3% after yesterday warning that its Q3 results will not disappoint.
Investors sent Scitex (Nasdaq:SCIX) down another 3.1% on top of its 5.1% loss yesterday, on rumors that it's about to publish an earnings warning.
Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE: PTNR, LSE:PCCD) jumped 5.4% after today announcing the launch of its first location-based services to mobile phone users, the Orange Taxi service.
Medcon gained 8.2% on top of its 10.5% jump yesterday, after announcing the sale of two cardiological systems to Toshiba, which is buying them for Canadian hospitals. The deal is worth $630,000.