One minute before closing on Wednesday, leading indices in Tel Aviv rebounded to end the session with gains. The Maof-25 index of blue chips closed up 2.03%, crossing the 400-point mark to 406.18.
Just seconds before closing, blue chips had been down 1.4%, which means that they leaped 3.5% just before the end of today's session. The sharp reversal is due to the expiration of March options tomorrow. Maof speculators bought underlying assets for NIS 20 million, just before the close of trade.
The TA-100 index rose 1.35% to 395.90 points. But technology shares fell 1.73%. Total turnover was a moderate NIS 220 million.
Shares had been losing ground, until just before the end of the session. This follows the day's spate of terrorist attacks, and pessimistic Nasdaq futures.
Local traders today said that as long as companies continue releasing negative results, which will also affect the upcoming quarters, the market is unlikely to rally.
At closing, national phone company Bezeq rose 4.1% on a NIS 23 million turnover.
Bank Leumi jumped 1.9% on the session's largest turnover of NIS 25 million, after releasing its financial results. The bank's profit in 2000 rose 24.4% to NIS 1.605 billion, compared with 1999. But the profit is somewhat lower than the record profit released several days ago by its competitor Bank Hapoalim. Leumi's fourth-quarter profit dropped to NIS 339 million, compared with a profit of NIS 346 million in the same quarter of 1999.
Hapoalim jumped 4.4%, but Discount lost 1.4%. Discount has not yet released its results.
Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) fell 3.2% to NIS 45. In the last 12 months, the shares have lost 85%. Investment house UBS believes Nice's stock is near to its rock-bottom price. The bank cut the share's price target to just $13, which is 18% more than the market price.
Pharmaceuticals company Agis shed 4.2% after posting a loss of NIS 3.3 million in its fourth quarter of 2000. Annual net profit shrunk 20% due to the slowdown in the sale of drugs to the local market.
The preferred stock of travel company ISSTA plunged 25.6%, on a turnover of NIS 2.4 million.