Tel Aviv stocks spent Sunday gently sliding on low turnover and ended up with blue chips down around 1 percent, and tech stocks losing more than 2%.
Shaken by the weakening shekel, Nasdaq's drops on Friday and the sporadic local violence, Tel Aviv stocks went from sad to worse, only to regain some ground shortly before the bell.
Shortly before closing, the Bank of Israel made a dramatic 1.5% rate cut, which is likely to affect trade tomorrow.
Blue chips started the day with a loss of 1%, slid to 1.5% at midday and then started to regain some momentum, but not enough to reach the green.
Nasdaq on Friday slumped 1.25% to 1,535 points, its lowest level since the September 11 attacks on the United States. The Dow Jones dropped 0.36%.
The Maof-25 index fell by 1.1% to 383.8 points and the Tel Aviv-100 index dropped 1.2% to 372.7 points. The TelTech-15 index, which is heavy with Nasdaq-listed tech firms, fell by 2.3%.
The big stocks sustained their positions throughout much of the session: Teva, Elbit Systems and the banks.
Elbit Systems (Nasdaq:ESLT) dropped 2.5% on turnover of NIS 1.4 million after losing the contract to buy a 30% stake of defense systems maker Elisra from Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR). In a move that surprised the market, Koor sold the stake to Elta, a division of the state-controlled Israel Aircraft Industries. Elbit Systems had widely been expected to get the deal, which would have helped it sustain its growth ¿ and achieve advantages of scale, a significant factor in the defense market.
Koor reversed from opening gains and is edged down by 0.6%, even though expectations are for it to post $60 million in capital gains from the sale.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) was the liveliest stock on the floor, as usual, but it sank by 3.9% on a volume of NIS 42.3 million after losing almost 2% on Wall Street on Friday. Traders attribute the decline to the acute profit warning issued by rival Biogen (Nasdaq:BGEN).
Biogen sells the multiple sclerosis treatment called Avonex. Teva sells one called Copaxone. Avonex has been hurting since Serono introduced its MS treatment, Rebif, to the United States, but if anything Teva has seen the market share of Copaxone grow.
Also, market assessments are that the MS treatments market will only grow by 10% this year, down from earlier estimates of 15% growth.
Bank Leumi stock sagged by 0.8% on last week's news that a Swiss magazine refutes the bank's claims about a huge embezzlement case. The magazine, Weltwoche, claims $190 million was stolen from the bank ¿ twice what Leumi admits to.
Bank Hapoalim also lost ground, to the tune of 1.2%. Bank Discount ended down 0.4% and Bank Mizrahi lost 1.3%.
Housing & Construction hurt from profit taking after it rose by 6% on Thursday, when it announced a billion-dollar contract to build a toll road in the Czech Republic. It fell by 1.2% on high turnover of NIS 1.3 million.
In other TASE news, the Israel Securities Authority flexed a muscle today and voided financial statements published by Boulos Gad and by Azmon.
According to statements by the companies, the ISA deemed real-estate company Boulos Gad to have inadequately predicted the effect of an $3 million lawsuit filed by its subsidiary.
As for building products firm Azmon, the company neglected to append the financial statements of the Zehavi-Azmon partnership, in which it holds a 40% interest. The company said it is examining its moves in light of the rejection of its financial statement.