US fiscal agreement boosts TASE

The Tel Aviv 25 Index rose 1.6% in morning trading, with only Mellanox losing ground.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) has begun 2013 with strong gains, following the fiscal deal between Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate. Although the House of Representatives will only vote on the bill in a few days, it will apply retroactively from January 1 to prevent the US from going over the fiscal cliff. Most foreign markets are closed today for New Year's Day. Wall Street rose by up to 2% yesterday, and futures point to further gains of up to 0.3%, following reports that a deal was reached. The S&P 500 rose 1.7%, for its biggest end-of-year gain since 1974

Analysts in Israel and other countries predict that 2013 will be a good year for stock markets, especially after the deal to solve the US fiscal cliff problem. US investment banks predict that the S&P 500 will rise 10-19% in 2013 to 1,575-1,700 by the end of the year. Israeli investment houses predict a low double-digit return on the Tel Aviv 25 Index. .

On the TASE, banks, including Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) and Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI), are rising strongly, following gains by financial stocks on Wall Street. The S&P 500 Financial Sector Index rose 1.4%.

Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL) is up 2.6%, despite Canpotex's capitulation to the Chinese. The Canadian potash cartel, which includes Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (NYSE; TSX: POT), Agrium (TSX; NYSE: AGU), and Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS), blinked first in talks with its biggest customer (China) and signed a contract a substantial reduction in price: $400 per ton, $70 less than the price in the previous contract in March 2012, and $30 less than market forecasts, making it a poor deal as far as Israel Chemicals is concerned.

Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX; TASE:MLNX) is down 1.2%, the only Tel Aviv 25 Index to lose ground in morning trading.

In the life sciences, small-cap Biocancell Therapeutics Ltd. (TASE:BICL) is still the focus of attention, after its 76% jump yesterday.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 1, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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