Tel Aviv stocks slipped 0.6% Wednesday after a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a Rishon Lezion pool hall. Fifteen people were killed and dozens wounded.
The Maof-25 blue chip index, the TA-100 index, and the Tel-Tech index each closed off 0.6%. Total turnover was moderate at NIS 224 million.
Stocks were down 1% in the morning, widening losses to 1.5% at mid-day, but moderating as the session moved on. Ilan Sasson from investment bank Moritz & Tuchler said that stocks were pushed down by the terror attack and concern about regional developments. The drops were moderated by European gains and optimistic Nasdaq futures, as well as by networking giant Cisco Systems' (Nasdaq:CSCO) positive Q1 report, Sasson marked.
Investment bank UBS Warburg published a pessimistic outlook on the Israeli economy. The bank doesn't think the emergency economic plan will provide an answer to the worst economic slowdown since 1950. The bank expressed concern about Bank of Israel not being partner to the plan.
The bank reiterated its Negative rating, recommending maintaining limited exposure. UBS believes that the security and economic situation places Israeli investments at high risk and will wait for positive developments in order to upgrade the rating.
Paradigm Geophysical (Nasdaq:PGEO), provider of software solutions for oil and gas exploration companies, closed with 3.9% gains. The company confirmed the report published by Ma'ariv this week that it is in talks for a takeover by a private investment firm. The paper said the takeover is to be based on $100 million valuation, 59% above the market.
Drug giant Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) closed off 0.3% on the session's biggest turnover, NIS 71 million. Investment bank Lehman Brothers rated Teva a Strong Buy, setting its price target at $87, 45% above the market.
Electronic defense contractor Elbit Systems (Nasdaq:ESLT) closed down 2.2% on NIS 11 million volume. The company posted $185.8 million revenue for Q1, 2.2% up from the parallel, and $11.7 million net profit, 10% more than in the first quarter of 2001. The company's order backlog comes to $1.6 billion. Net earnings per share came to 29 cents, in line with estimates. Investors were apparently disappointed by relatively low growth, and by operating profit decreasing by $1.3 million to $14.7 million.
Digital recording systems maker Nice Systems (Nasdaq:NICE) fell 6.5% on unusually high volume, NIS 8 million, having provided no announcement that would explain this. Market players said that historically, such fluctuation in Nice shares has ordinarily preceded negative announcements.
Retalix (Nasdaq:RTLX), which provides software solutions to food retailers, closed off 0.8%. Bank Hapoalim, rated it a Buy, setting $18 as price target, 44% above the market.
Bank Hapoalim closed down 1.7% on NIS 39 million volume. TheMarker reported there is concern that Lumenis (Nasdaq:LUME), which makes laser-based devices for the medical and cosmetics markets, won't be able to pay the interest and principal on NIS 1 billion loans from Bank Hapoalim.
Bank Leumi closed off 0.6%, Bank Discount slipped 0.2%, Mizrahi Bank closed down 1.8%.
Agrochemicals firm Makhteshim Agan closed off 0.2% on NIS 4 million volume. The company posted $236.1 million sales for Q1, 2% more than in the parallel quarter in 2001. Sharply increased $2.5 million tax charges due to the dollar devaluation hurt net, which came to $20.7 million.
Holding firm Koor Industries (NYSE:KOR) dropped 0.8%, Matav Cable Systems (Nasdaq:MATV) dropped 4.2%, cellular provider Partner Communications (Nasdaq, TASE:PTNR, LSE:PCCD) climbed 2.1%, while maker of broadband wireless access systems Alvarion (Nasdaq:ALVR) climbed 1.3%.
Food giant Osem edged up 0.2% in NIS 3 million turnover ahead of tomorrow's Q1 results.