TA-25 treads water [pg.15]

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October 9, 2006 08:48
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Israeli stocks were little changed Sunday. The benchmark TA-25 Index rose 0.16, or less than 0.1 percent, to 858.11, as 17 stocks declined, seven gained, and one was unchanged. Investors bought and sold about NIS 587 million in shares and convertibles, about half the average daily volume in September. Trading ended at 2:45 p.m. today instead of 5:30 p.m. because of the Succot holiday this week. The regular schedule resumes October 15. Shares of Tower Semiconductor Ltd., a maker of computer chips for other companies, rose as investors concluded that a debt-for- equity swap and recent contract wins reduce the company's risk. Koor Industries Ltd. fell after an offer by controlling shareholder Discount Investment Corp. to purchase shares in the company expired last week. Tower rose NIS 0.72, or 10.4%, to NIS 7.60, bringing its gain in the past three sessions to about 23%. Investors concluded that a debt-for-equity swap and recent contract wins reduce the company's risk, Sergey Vastchenok, director of research at CIBC World Markets in Tel Aviv, said by telephone. "Tower's agreement with the banks has increased its cash flow and decreased its debt," Vastchenok said. "It's also boosted its pool of clients. This has reduced the company's risk level, which used to be very high." Africa Israel Properties Ltd. rose NIS 4.70, or 2.6%, to NIS 188.60. Shares may reach NIS 207 in the next 12 months, Leader Capital Markets Ltd. said, raising its target from NIS 180. El Al Israel Airlines Ltd., the country's biggest carrier, rose NIS 0.06, or 2.6%, to NIS 2.52. The airliner is preparing a business plan that could save the company up to 10% of its $1.6b. operating expenses, the Hebrew press said, without citing anyone. El Al management is examining what are the most profitable routes of the airline and whether some can be canceled, the report said. Koor Industries Ltd. declined NIS 5.60, or 2.4%, to NIS 224.70, after an offer by Discount Investment Corp. to purchase shares in the company expired last week. "The value of the stock may have decreased now that the high-priced deal came through," Ravit Wolkovich, the head of research at Psagot Ofek Investment House Ltd., said by phone. "Investors are not interested in holding the stock now."

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