Sun: Global markets drag TASE down

Despite the sharp falls, some technology shares had a good day, with NICE, Fundtech, Retalix, and Aladdin recording handsome gains.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) fell today. The Tel Aviv 25 Index fell 3.98% to 639.49 points, the Tel Aviv 100 Index fell 3.98% to 579.89 points, and the Tel-Tech fell 2.06% to 145.29 points. Turnover was NIS 769.5 million.

Friday's losses on Wall Street dragged the TASE down today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9% in February, its worst-ever performance for this month, , and the S&P 500 Index fell 7%.

In foreign currency options trading, the shekel-dollar exchange rate rose 0.82% to NIS 4.196/$ and the shekel-euro exchange rate rose 0.75% to NIS 5.313/€.

In the stock market, NICE Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: NICE; TASE: NICE) was the only one of the Tel Aviv 25 shares to gain ground today, with a rise of 0.8%. Chemical shares were no escape today. Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) fell 4.5%, and Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd. (TASE: MAIN) fell 3.9%.

The Banking Index fell 5.2% after Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT) became the fourth bank to publish a profit warning for the fourth quarter and full year of 2008. Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI; LSE:80OA) fell 5.5%, Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) fell 5.2%, Discount Bank fell 4.6%, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank (TASE:MZTF) fell 4.3%, and First International Bank of Israel (TASE: FTIN1;FTIN5) fell 7.1%.

The banks were joined by insurance companies. Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MGDL) fell 6.1%, Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. (TASE: HARL) fell 7.7%, Menorah Mivtachim Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MORA) fell 8.1%, Israel Phoenix Assurance Ltd. (TASE: PHOE1;PHOE5) fell 7.7%, and Clal Insurance Enterprises Holdings Ltd. (TASE: CLIS) fell 7.8%

Technology shares were a fairly bright spot. In addition to NICE, gains by several dual-listed stock kept the Tel-Tech's loss fairly low. Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALDN; TASE: ALDN) rose 4%, Fundtech Ltd. (Nasdaq: FNDT; TASE: FNDT) rose 7.8%, and Retalix Ltd. (Nasdaq: RTLX; TASE: RTLX) rose 5.4%.

The Real Estate 15 Index fell 3.9% with all shares in the index down for the day, led by a 6.5% loss by Elbit Imaging Ltd. (Nasdaq: EMITF; TASE: EMIT). Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY) lost 3.6% and Gazit-Globe Ltd. (TASE: GLOB) fell 2.7%.

Among mid-cap shares, Palram Industries Ltd. (TASE: PLRM) jumped 16% after announcing a distribution contract in Europe, but it could not maintain the gain, and ended the day down 12.4%. ProSeed Venture Capital Fund (TASE:PRSD) jumped 36.7%, after portfolio company Tehuti Networks Ltd. obtained a US patent for its 10 Gpbs Ethernet processor.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 1, 2009

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2009

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