TA-25 advances the most in a month

Investors traded about NIS 2.13 billion in shares and convertible securities.

By NEWS AGENCIES
November 29, 2007 07:18
4 minute read.

 
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SHARES TEL AVIV Israeli stocks advanced the most in a month on Wednesday. Israel Discount Bank Ltd. and Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. paced gains after reporting better-than-expected earnings. The TA-25 Index added 17.96, or 1.5 percent, to 1,186.14. Investors traded about NIS 2.13 billion in shares and convertible securities. Discount Bank rose NIS 0.70, or 7.8%, to NIS 9.70, a record gain. The country's third-largest lender said profit rose 61% to NIS 392 million in the third quarter on lending growth and reduced provisions for bad loans. That compared with a median estimate of 28m. among six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Bank Leumi climbed NIS 0.50, or 3%, to NIS 17.40. Israel's largest lender by assets said net profit increased 4.1% to NIS 1b. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected profit to drop to NIS 735m. Adgar Investments & Development Ltd. jumped NIS 0.39, or 5.2%, to NIS 7.79. Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. raised its price estimate on the company that invests in commercial and residential property to NIS 9.5 from NIS 8.5. Israel Chemicals Ltd. climbed NIS 1.84, or 4.8%, to NIS 40.50. With the increase in potash and fertilizer prices in the past days, "our forecast of $800 million profit a year seems too low," Yuval Zehira, an analyst at IBI in Tel Aviv, wrote in an e-mailed report. Paz Oil Co. advanced NIS 15.20, or 3%, to NIS 531. Israel's largest energy company plans to expand its "Yellow" brand of convenience stores to become the third-largest grocery chain in Israel, Ha'aretz said, without citing anyone. Tower Semiconductor Ltd. advanced NIS 0.27, or 4.7%, to NIS 6.10. The maker of custom computer chips will begin manufacturing products on a commercial scale for International Rectifier Corp. this quarter. WALL STREET Stocks started higher, with the Dow industrials up more than 100 points, after a Federal Reserve official's speech bolstered thinking that another interest-rate cut will come in December. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 110 points to 13,065 during morning trading in New York, with 24 of its 30 components ahead. The S&P 500 rose 17.94 points to 1,446.17 and the Nasdaq Composite surged 42.58 points to 2,623.38. In contrast with more hawkish statements made recently by other Fed officials, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn said the central bank's monetary policy should be flexible. "The market liked what it heard from a Fed governor this morning about the ongoing financial stress in the system. This implies there is an increased likelihood of another rate cut coming," said Elliot Spar, option market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. EUROPE Stocks advanced for the first time this week after earnings from Compass Group Plc and Anglo Irish Bank Plc beat analysts' estimates and brokerages recommended buying shares in UBS AG and British Airways Plc. Sage Group Plc rose the most in more than four years after the software maker reported a jump in sales and increased its dividend. Porsche SE climbed as the sports-car producer said it's "carefully optimistic" about full-year performance. Stork NV rallied as Candover Investments Plc offered to buy the company. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 1.7% to 360.34 as of late afternoon trading in London as more than five stocks rose for each one that fell. The measure has tumbled to 7.2% so far in November, heading for its worst month since 2002 on concern losses related to US subprime mortgages will spread. National benchmarks advanced in all of the 18 western European markets except Iceland. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 2% to 6,262.30, France's CAC rallied 1.6% and Germany's DAX rose 1.7%. The Stoxx 50 increased 1.8%, and the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the euro region, rose 1.6%. ASIA Stocks fell, led by BHP Billiton Ltd. after metal and oil prices dropped on concern a slowdown in the US economy will erode demand for raw materials. BHP, the world's largest mining company and Australia's biggest oil company, declined the most in a week. Sinotruk (Hong Kong) Ltd., China's largest maker of heavy trucks, plunged 16% on its first day of trading, the second stock to slump in a Hong Kong debut in less than a week. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.7% to 156.92 in Tokyo, with eight of its 10 industry groups falling. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 0.5% to 15,153.78, and the broader Topix fell 0.2%. Benchmarks declined in South Korea, China, India, Taiwan and Australia, and rose in Hong Kong. Singapore was little changed. CURRENCY The shekel rose to a Bank of Israel fixing of 3.875 against the dollar. The dollar was higher Wednesday compared to Tuesday's late US trading levels. The euro was trading at $1.4757, down from $1.4824 late Tuesday but off its session low of $1.4711. The yen was lower in line with higher risk appetite after a solid opening on Wall Street, with the dollar buying 109.94 yen, up from 108.88 late Tuesday but below an earlier high of 110.08. COMMODITIES Oil futures fell after a US government report showed a smaller-than-expected decline in inventories last week. Crude oil for January delivery fell 21 cents to $94.21 a barrel at during morning action on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold fell for a second straight day after the dollar rebounded against the euro, reducing the appeal of the precious metal as an alternative investment. Gold futures for February delivery fell $9.20, or 1.1%, to $812 an ounce during morning trading on the Comex division of the NYMEX.

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