Africa Israel advances 1.5%; Cadbury jumps on Kraft bid

Maof: 965.98, up 0.9% Dow Jones: closed FTSE: 4,933.18, up 1.7% Nikkei: 10,320.94, up 1.3%

SHARES TEL AVIV The TA-25 Index climbed for the first time this week, increasing 8.65, or 0.9 percent, to 965.98 at the close in Tel Aviv. Investors traded about NIS 1.46 billion in shares and convertible securities. Africa Israel Investments, the real-estate developer owned by Lev Leviev, climbed from a five-month low, advancing 1.5%. AFI Development, the company's Russian property arm, was initiated with a "buy" recommendation at Bank of America. Biondvax Pharmaceuticals, the maker of intranasal flu vaccines, rose 8.3%. The Health Ministry approved the first and second stages of a clinical trial for the company's international flu vaccine among patients aged 55 to 75. Brainsway advanced 2%. The biopharmaceutical company received approval from the Italian Health Ministry to sell its Deep TMS device for treating depression. Menorah Mivtachim Holdings declined the most in six months, sliding 7.9%. The insurer said the insurance supervisor planned to investigate backdated investments at the company's unit. WALL STREET Closed for Labor Day. EUROPE European stocks rose for a third day as a resurgence of merger speculation boosted food and beverage stocks and mining companies and the Group of 20 nations agreed on steps to shore up the global financial system. Cadbury, the world's largest confectioner, jumped 38% after rejecting a $16.7b. offer from Kraft Foods. Mergers and acquisitions are recovering amid signs the worst recession since World War II is easing. Last week, Baker Hughes, the third-largest oilfield-services provider, agreed to buy BJ Services for $5.5b., and Walt Disney said it would purchase Marvel Entertainment for about $4b. National benchmark indexes rose in all of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 advanced 1.7% to 4,933.18. ASIA Asian stocks rose, giving the MSCI Asia Pacific Index its biggest advance in two weeks, as the Group of 20 nations agreed on steps to shore up the financial system, while merger speculation boosted technology shares. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 1.3% to 10,320.94. China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7% after the government raised the amount foreign funds can invest in equities. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 1.5%. CURRENCIES The shekel weakened from an almost nine-month high against the dollar as traders increased bets the Bank of Israel will buy dollars to limit the currency's gains. The shekel dropped as much as 0.6% and was down 0.4% at 3.7569 per dollar at 4:56 p.m. in Tel Aviv, versus 3.7425 per dollar on Friday, its strongest level since December 18. The dollar weakened to $1.4330 per euro as of 6:10 p.m. in London, from $1.4297 on Friday. COMMODITIES Oil was little changed near $68 a barrel as the US driving season wound down and the profit margin for turning crude into gasoline and distillate fuels declined, further depressing demand. Crude oil for October delivery rose 11 cents, or 0.2%, to $68.13 a barrel at 12:23 p.m. local time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Immediate-delivery bullion added 79 cents, or 0.1%, to $995.19 an ounce by 4:52 p.m. in London. December gold futures slipped 10 cents to $996.60 an ounce in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Comex division. Comex floor trading in New York and Chicago was closed for Labor Day.