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Israeli shares crept back toward record highs Tuesday, but gains were hampered by Bank Hapoalim, which pushed 2.3% lower as the country's largest bank reported third-quarter earnings growth that came up shy of some analysts' targets.
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's benchmark TA-25 index was up 0.19 percent at 917.82, while the TA-100 was up 0.36% at 929.21 and the Tel-Tech 15 index of top technology issues edged 0.32% higher to 380.26.
The record closes are 923.02 for the TA-25 and 933.61 for the TA-100, both set November 19. The Tel-Tech topped out at 482.78 on Jan. 20, 2004.
Bank Hapoalim was the most-active issue, finishing at NIS 21.31, followed by Bank Leumi, shares of which dropped 2.4% to NIS 17.64. Taken together, trading in the two banks accounted for a quarter of the TASE's total volume of $403 million.
Separately, Israel Salt Industries said it was in negotiations to sell the stake in Bank Hapoalim that it owns to Shari Arison, the bank's controlling shareholder. Israel Salt's shares fell 1.8% to NIS 28.38.
Meanwhile, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries saw its shares rise 2.1% to NIS 138.7. Teva and Pfizer settled a patent dispute and entered a marketing agreement regarding sales of three generic drugs.
Also higher, Strauss-Elite added 1.4% to NIS 45.18. The foods producer was reiterated as "market perform" at Leader & Co. and as "neutral" at UBS after its earnings report released Monday.
Frutarom jumped 6.2% to NIS 37.41. The producer of flavors and fragrances, listed on the TA-100, reported third-quarter net income up 3.3% on 20% sales growth.
Magal Security Systems climbed 2.7% to NIS 41.93. The company received a $4.5m. order from the Israeli Ministry of Defense to install a perimeter intrusion-detection system along the country's northern border. The deal adds to a $5.5m. order received in September.
Ituran Location & Control Ltd. added 1.1% to NIS 73.28. Third-quarter net income rose to 21 cents a share from 19 cents in the year-earlier period. Revenue for the provider of location-based recovery and tracking services rose 14% to $26m.
Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd., a producer of integrated metrology and process-control systems for the semiconductor industry, tacked on 3% to NIS 10.37. Nova said it would cut 8% of its work force, targeting savings of $2m. in 2007, and take a fourth-quarter charge of $300,000 for severance and other costs.
Shares of Formula Systems jumped 4.8% to NIS 46.14. Emblaze Ltd. closed the purchase of 33.4% of the tech-investment firm from its largest shareholder and said it also purchased another 4.9% on the open market.
Elron Electronic Industries rose 1.4% to NIS 52.61. The tech-investment firm said its 62%-held 3DV Systems subsidiary agreed to a $15m. investment from venture capital funds Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Pitango. If the deal goes through, Elron's stake in 3DV would drop to 38%.
On a weaker note, Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. slipped 0.2% to NIS 36.49. Gilat registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission an offering of 7 million shares, 4.7 million of which would be sold by the company with York Capital Management selling the rest.
US stocks turned negative in late morning trade Tuesday as volumes slowed ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, but gains by Boeing Co. provided support for the Dow Jones Industrial Average while Google Inc. topped $500 for the first time.
The Dow dropped 8 points, or 0.1%, to 12,308.21, weighed down by the likes of
General Motors Corp. and Intel Corp., which both lost over 2%. But Dow-component Boeing Co. rose 1% to $90.05 after winning a $5.5 billion order for 25 planes from Korean Air Co.
The S&P 500 edged up fractionally to 1,401 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4 points to 2,448.
European shares advanced on Tuesday as financial-services stocks such as British Land and Deutsche Boerse joined some commodity shares in lifting benchmarks across the region.
The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index rose 0.35% to 360.73, with financial services one of the strongest performing sectors.
The UK's FTSE 100 index rose 0.26% to 6,220.50. Shares in property company British Land gained 0.9% after the company posted higher adjusted profits.
Financial-services strength also helped the German DAX Xetra 30 index to rise 0.19% to 6,464.96, as shares in stock-exchange operator Deutsche Boerse increased 2.1%. The French CAC-40 index increased 0.29% to 5,470.39.
Asian shares rebounded Tuesday, led by Singapore's Straits Times Index on gains in property shares such as Keppel Land while Japan's Nikkei 225 Average ended in positive territory as blue chips recovered from the previous session and as the euro held near a record high against the yen.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Index ended the session up 8.2 points, or 0.1%, to 15,734.14, led by gains in chip-related companies such as Advantest Corp. The broader Topix index fell 0.1% to 1,532.95.
Singapore's Straits Times Index gained 1.1% to 2,802.88, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 ended 0.7% higher, Malaysia's KLSE Composite gained 0.2%, New Zealand's NZX-50 Index ended 0.3% higher. South Korea's Kospi nudged higher 0.3%, Shanghai's Composite Index rose 1%, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite fell 0.2% while India's 30-issue Sensex rose 1.4%, Taiwan's Weighted Price index rose 0.7%, gaining for the sixth straight day, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 53.67 points, or 0.3%, to 19,008.30.
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