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The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has closed with gains, after opening hesitantly earlier in the day. Traders say the upcoming Israeli election for prime minister to be held on Tuesday, February 6th, 2001, is not impacting on local markets. Usually an Israeli pre-election period is characterized by uncertainty and minor market fluctuations, with trade usually moving 1% in either direction.

But today the Maof-25 index finished up 2.21% to 462.35 points, and the TA-100 index rose 2.05% to 459.6 points. The Tel-Tech jumped 2.1%. Turnover was NIS 283 million.

Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA), which fell slightly at the opening of today's trade, had gained 2% by closing, while attracting the session's highest turnover at NIS 41 million.

Formula Systems (Nasdaq:FORTY) climbed steadily throughout the day, finishing up 5.6%. This follows yesterday's reports that the Delek Investments and Properties company, of the Delek group, is negotiating to acquire the Formula holdings of Delek's main shareholder, Yitzhak Tshuva. The company is also reportedly negotiating with Formula on a private placement of Formula stock to Delek.

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American Investment house Goldman Sachs has rated Bank Leumi as Attractive, and set a NIS 13 price target. That's up 40% from its current market price. Bank Leumi's stock gained 1.8% on a NIS 25 million turnover.

Bank Hapoalim today attracted a lively turnover gaining 3.4%. Goldman Sachs set a NIS 14 price target for the share, up 30% from its current market price. The investment house also says that the bank has the skills and ability to merit an upgrade. Bank Mizrahi's stock also rose 2.7% on Goldman Sachs' rating. In its report on the banking sector, Goldman Sachs predicts that the bank's growing presence in the mortgage sector (through its holdings in Tefahot Israel Mortgage Bank), will allow it to expand beyond retail banking.

The IDB group's companies also added to their value today, with Discount Investments rising 3%, Clal Industries climbing 2.5%, IDB Holdings going up 0.8% and IDB Development jumping 2%.