Serial explosions and gunfire attacks sent Israeli stocks reeling, with the losses picking up as casualty counts came through.
Tel Aviv stocks began the day with mild losses of half a percent after gunfire in the Gaza Strip Sunday morning that killed one and wounded four more settlers. The reaction to Saturday night's double bombing in Jerusalem, that killed about ten people and wounded almost 200, was relatively muted.
But investors reacted swiftly to mid-day news of a bomb attack in Haifa that killed at least 15 people and wounded dozens more. Blue chips sank to a loss of 2%, but tumbled further as news of shooting incidents in Jerusalem's Gilo came through.
The Maof-25 index of blue chips closed down 2.2% at 404.5 points and the TA-100 index sagged by 2.2% to 388.6 points. Tech stocks ended down 0.9% after showing some resilience immediately after the attacks. Turnover was low at NIS 224 million.
Bonds issued by agrochemicals firm Makhteshim Agan Industries stole the show, attracting NIS 72 million turnover. Action was lively MAI options too - NIS 10.2 million, and in its stock, which retreated by 1% on hefty volume of NIS 11.5 million.
Communications shares sank across the board, with Bezeq losing 1.8%, Matav Cable Systems Media (Nasdaq:MATV) down 0.7% and Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE: PTNR, LSE:PCCD) off 3%.
Nor were banks the flavor of the day, as more trouble with the regulator looms: the Finance Ministry may decide to stop them from adjusting their results to inflation for tax purposes, which would shrivel up what profits they have left after doubtful debt provisions.
Hapoalim ended down 2%, Bank Leumi lost 3.1%, Bank Discount fell 2.4%, and Mizrahi Bank moved down by 1.9%. The First International Bank of Israel had a volatile day that ended with a 3.8% loss.
Metalink (Nasdaq:MTLK), which specializes in broadband access chips, surged 12.8% after opening with a huge positive arbitrage gap of 19.6%. On Friday the company announced that its VDSL Centaur solutions have passed testing by Lucent Technologies (NYSE:LU), which will be selling them to communications providers
Scitex Corporation (Nasdaq:SCIX) gained 1.2% after opening with a positive arbitrage of 3.8%. Last week Scitex sold Canadian institutionals 7 million Creo Products (Nasdaq:CREO, TSE:CRE) shares for $78 million, diluting its holdings from 27% to 12.7%. CEO Yeoshua Agassi said that Scitex will use the money to improve its financial strength, and that the deal will improve Scitex¿s portfolio structure.
Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) gained 1%, reversing a mid-day sag of 2%. Ma'ariv today reported that the Ofer Brothers and Dovrat are buying 12.5% of Koor affiliate ECI Telecom (Nasdaq:ECIL) for $50 million.
Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) retreated by 3.3% on NIS 24.2 million turnover, after opening with a negative arbitrage gap of 2.6%.
Camtek (Nasdaq:CAMT) debuted in Tel Aviv today and was greeted with a show of uvulas. Not one transaction was reported.