Crude oil rises after Israeli attacks on Gaza roil Middle East

Dollar falls on concern that conflict may disrupt oil supply to United States.

SHARES TEL AVIV The Tel Aviv-25 Index rebounded from a one-month low, increasing 5.55, or 0.9 percent, to 631.39 at the close in Tel Aviv. Investors traded about NIS 846 million in shares and convertible securities. The index is headed for a 48% decline in 2008, the steepest one-year loss since 1983, amid the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression. BluePhoenix Solutions Ltd. jumped 9.2%. The company, which upgrades complex software packages, said it has received a $2.2m. contract from a Scandinavian bank. Delek Drilling LP rose 2.9%. The Yam Thetis partnership, which includes Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. and Delek, said all terms have been met to supply Israel Chemicals Ltd. with natural gas. Tao Tsuot Ltd. advanced 8%. The investment company controlled by Ilan Ben-Dov said it would sell a 25% stake in Scailex Corp. for NIS 278m. WALL STREET US stocks fell the most in a week as Dow Chemical Co. and Rohm & Haas Co. plunged after funding for their merger fell through, raising concern companies may be unable to complete deals as financing disappears. Dow Chemical, the largest US chemical maker, declined 20% following Kuwait's decision to scrap a deal that would have provided $9 billion in cash to pay for Rohm & Haas, the world's biggest maker of acrylic-paint ingredients, which dropped 15%. SL Green Realty Corp. retreated 5.8% after New York's biggest office landlord cut its quarterly dividend by more than half. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 1.8% to 857.38 at 1:01 p.m. in New York, the biggest drop since last Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 138.67 points, or 1.6%, to 8,376.88. EUROPE European stocks rose for the first time in six days, as rallies by Rio Tinto Group, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Scania AB offset a slide in retailers and technology companies amid concern the economy is deteriorating. Rio Tinto Group climbed 5.8% after escalating tensions in the Middle East pushed gold to the highest in 11 weeks. RBS rose the most in almost four weeks on speculation the bank will retain its insurance business and a new chairman will be appointed. National benchmark indexes gained in 13 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 added 2.4% to 4,319.35 as RBS rallied. Germany's DAX climbed 1.6%, led by MAN AG and Daimler AG. France's CAC 40 rose 0.5%. ASIA Asian stocks climbed as merger talks boosted insurers and commodity producers advanced amid rising raw-materials prices, paring the worst annual losses on record for the region's benchmark index. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.1% to 8,747.17, while India's Sensitive Index gained 2.2%. CURRENCIES The shekel weakened against the dollar, losing 0.3% to 3.8520. The dollar dropped the most in more than a week against the euro on concern Middle East tensions will disrupt oil supplies to the US. The British pound weakened to a record low against the euro, moving closer to parity, after a survey of UK real-estate agents and surveyors forecast home prices will slide further in 2009. The dollar slid to $1.4231 per euro at 11:52 a.m. in New York, from $1.4028 on Friday. It weakened as much as 2.3%, the biggest intraday decline since December 17. COMMODITIES Crude oil rose as much as 12% after IAF air strikes raised concerns that supply from the Middle East, the world's largest producing region, may be disrupted. Crude oil for February delivery rose $1.57, or 4.2%, to $39.28 a barrel as of 9:32 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, it touched $42.20 a barrel in the biggest gain in two weeks. Gold futures for February delivery rose $8.40, or 1%, to $879.60 an ounce at 10:53 a.m. on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached $892, the highest since October 10.