Surges by Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) and Tower Semiconductors (Nasdaq:TSEM) and yesterday's rate cut yesterday lifted Tel Aviv's indices, albeit not by much.
The shooting attack in Afula Tuesday morning, in which 2 people were killed and about 50 wounded, temporarily depressed prices, but stocks rallied to sustain gains until shortly before the bell.
The Maof-25 index of blue chips ended down 0.6% to 412 points, and the TA-100 index lost 0.3% to 395.9 points. Tech stocks gained 0.5%, having started on a gain of more than 2.4%. Total turnover remains slim at NIS 171 million.
The banks were the story of the day. Hapoalim slid 1.4% after being rated a chilly Hold by Credit Suisse First Boston. Bank Leumi retreated by 1.5% for no particular known reason. Bank Discount fell by 1.3% and the First International Bank of Israel sagged by 2.1% as investors frowned on reports of merger talks.
Teva powered ahead by 3.3% after receiving nice compliments from Ilanot Batucha, which reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target price to $72.
Tower Semiconductor (Nasdaq:TSEM) climbed 4.2% after today announcing that the strategic partners in Fab 2, the foundry it is building in Migdal Ha'emek, have converted advance payments of $53.7 million into 4.2 million Tower shares at $12.75 per share. The price gives the stock a premium of 95%.
Koor Industries (Nasdaq:KOR) fell 2% and its agrochemicals subsidiary Makhteshim Agan sagged despite being rated a Buy by investment house Gmul Sahar. Analyst Galit Sidemand set a price target of NIS 10.5, 22% above the market but noted that future sales pressure from cash-strapped majority shareholder Koor Industries (Nasdaq:KOR) could temporarily depress its price.
Mortgage banks were the flavor of the day, with Discount Mortgage gaining a hefty 3.6% despite reporting that its net had shrunk by 90% in the third quarter to a pitiful NIS 2 million. Leumi Mortgages gained 6.5%. Investors evidently believe a tender offer from their parent banks is in the offing after Hapoalim tendered to buy back shares in its offspring, the mortgage bank Mishkan.
IDB group stocks were in the doghouse, with IDB Holding Corporation losing 0.9%, IDB Development Corporation sagging by 1.7%, Clal Industries sinking by 3.3% and only Discount Investment Corporation closing - if not in the green - at least unchanged.
Profit-taking in Green, after mmajor gains: It finished down 4.4% after gainign as much as 7% in early trade.