Tel Aviv blue chips are mixed with a positive bias but tech stocks are rising strong at Wednesday noon, after three days in the red.
The Tel-Tech index is up 2.2%, while the Maof-25 index is rising by a meager 0.3% to 461.3 points and the TA-100 index is up 0.45% to 452.9 points.
Tamir Fishman portfolio manager David Levy attributes the drops of the last three days to speculators on the Maof-25 index as the end of the month, and expiry, approaches. Options on the Maof-25 index expire on the last Thursday of each month. As month-end approaches, speculator begin to trade heavily in underlying assets to sway the index. Levy said that investors are generally sitting tight until the prime ministerial elections, scheduled for February 6, are over.
Levy added that the murder of two Israelis yesterday and the consequent halt of talks between Israelis and Palestinians will not affect prices today, as the political uncertainty has already been incorporated in share prices.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) is down 2.1% despite a market consensus that the company is traded at a 20% discount, based on the valuations of peer companies. Investors are nonetheless wondering when the company will stop losing ground, especially as Teva has not corrected its forecasts downwards. Teva shares lost 30% this month.
Arbitrage stocks are mixed. Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) is rising 1.8% on the session's second highest turnover, and Metalink (Nasdaq:MTLK) is rising 8% after opening on an enormous arbitrage gap of 9%.
The Isramco oil exploration partnership is jumping 3.2% on lively turnover, on news that a group of shareholders plans to demand that the company distribute more generous dividends. The investors are trying to consolidate a group holding 10% of the company's participation units, to enable them to legally convene a general assembly of investors without the blessing of Isramco's management. The investors claim Isramco has "too much" money in its kitty, some NIS 371 million.
Delek Drilling is jumping 5.1% after the Delek group board approved the commencement of drilling off the shores of Vietnam. Yes, that Vietnam. The company first revealed intentions of seeking black gold in south-east Asia three weeks ago.
The plan for the coming year is to drill two exploratory wells to a depth of 4,000 meters in seas 400 km off the Vietnamese shore, at a sea depth of 100 meters.
Delek Energy estimates its investment in the Vietnamese drilling expedition to be around $4.6 million. Delek Energy is buying 18% of the participation rights in the Vietnamese project. Eight drills have been carried out in the region. Gas and oil were found in four cases, but the discoveries were not developed.