Tue: Banks fall hard for third-straight day

Leumi, Hapoalim and Discount dragged the market down again as Mellanox and Teva continued to lose ground.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) fell today. The Tel Aviv 25 Index fell 0.79% to 1,181.48 points, the Tel Aviv 100 Index fell 0.63% to 1,045.70 points, and the BlueTech 50 Index fell 0.39% to 313.65 points. Turnover was NIS 853.2 million.

The leading TASE indices fell today, while European markets and Wall Street were closed for Christmas Day.

In the foreign currency market there was also no trading due to the holiday after the Bank of Israel yesterday set the shekel-dollar representative exchange rate at NIS 3.769/$, down 0.21% on yesterday's rate, and set the shekel-euro representative exchange rate unchanged at NIS 4.969/€. In options trading the shekel was stable despite yesterday unexpected cut in the interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.75%.

In the bond market, long-term Shahar unlinked shekel government bonds rose by up to 0.1%, and long term Galil CPI-linked government bonds rose by up to 0.3%. The corporate bond benchmark Tel-Bond 20 Index rose 0.21%.

In the stock market, the banks led the market down today following heavy losses yesterday and Sunday.. The Banking Index lost another 1.9%, having fallen 2.3% yesterday. Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) fell 1.9%, Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) fell 1.7% and Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT) fell 2.9%, the biggest loss of any share on the Tel Aviv 25 Index.

It was also a bad day in the telco sector with the Communications Index down 0.9%. Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) fell 2.8% and Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) fell 0.6%. These falls come after bondholders in Scailex Corporation (TASE: SCIX; Pink Sheets:SCIXF), the controlling shareholder in Partner, yesterday approved the sale to Haim Saban.

Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX; TASE:MLNX), which has been in free fall of late, was down another 0.7% today. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) was down 0.6% on the day's highest trading turnover of NIS 53 million.

After some relatively tranquil days, Babylon Ltd. (TASE:BBYL) returned to more volatile trading and rose 9.3% after reporting the purchase of shares by The Phoenix Holdings Ltd. (TASE: PHOE1;PHOE5) and Clal Finance.

Africa-Israel Investments (TASE: AFIL) fell 5.1% after falling 14% over the past three days.

Mazor Robotics Ltd. (TASE:MZOR) rose 3% after reporting the sale of a second robotics systems to a hospital in California.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 25, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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