Two bomb attacks in Jerusalem on Tuesday drove down Tel Aviv stocks, but not drastically. Blue chips ended the session with losses of about 2%.

Stocks had opened with mild losses after a bomb attack in the Jerusalem industrial zone of Talpiyot, before the bell, in which five people were wounded. But a second bomb attack at about 13:20 at French Hill, Jerusalem, in which at least one person was killed and over two dozen wounded, sent investors scurrying. Stocks ended sharply lower on moderate turnover of NIS 174 million.

The local violence aside, traders said that the drops in Tel Aviv against the positive trend in Europe are due to speculators selling underlying assets ahead of the expiration of March options on Thursday.

Investors are worrying that Israel might retaliate dramatically to the escalating terrorist attacks, which could exacerbate the fighting.

The Maof-25 index of blue chips lost 2.2% to 398 points and the TA-100 index wound up 1.6% down at 390.6 points. Tech stocks fell by a steeper 2.5%.

The big banks attracted lively action. Mizrahi Bank lost 2.2% after reporting a loss for the fourth quarter of 2000. Bank Leumi dipped by 0.9% ahead of its 2000 results, due tomorrow. Bank Hapoalim dropped 1.3% on hefty turnover.