Dow pierces 14,000 for first time

AudioCodes Ltd., whose technology helps place phone calls over the Internet, climbed NIS 0.71, or 2.8%, to NIS 26.45.

SHARES TEL AVIV Israeli stocks advanced on Tuesday, reversing earlier declines, led by Israel Discount Bank Ltd., the nation's third-largest bank. The benchmark TA-25 Index added 1.1, or 0.1 percent, to 1,156.04 at the close in Tel Aviv, as 15 shares rose, 10 fell and one was unchanged. Investors traded about NIS 1.92 billion of shares and convertibles. Discount rose NIS 0.18, or 2%, to NIS 9.17. Discount's strategic plan to increase the value of the bank and its growth through 2011 is "realistic" and should improve return on equity to 13% by 2010 from 9.1% last year, Deutsche Bank AG said in a report Tuesday. Deutsche Bank reiterated its "buy" rating on Discount shares. AudioCodes Ltd., whose technology helps place phone calls over the Internet, climbed NIS 0.71, or 2.8%, to NIS 26.45. Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Vivek Arya expects sales and earnings to be modestly above his estimates of $37.3 million and 2 cents a share, according to a report released late Monday. El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. rose NIS 0.05, or 2.3%, to NIS 2.25. The country's biggest carrier was expected to sign a collective wage agreement, averting a possible strike by workers. WALL STREET US stocks rose, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average past 14,000 for the first time, after wholesale inflation unexpectedly declined and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended American Express Co. shares. American Express, the fourth-biggest US credit-card issuer, helped push the Dow average to a fourth-straight record. Novellus Systems Inc. surged the most since October 2002 and led shares of semiconductor-equipment makers higher after it forecast orders this quarter above analysts' projections. The S&P 500 increased 2.36, or 0.2%, to 1,551.88 midday while the Dow average rose 42.11, or 0.3%, to 13,993.09 after climbing as high as 14,011.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 10.63, or 0.4%, to 2,707.96. The Dow average has risen to records on each of the last four trading days, while the S&P 500 has set new highs on three out of four. EUROPE European stocks dropped for the first time in four days after analysts downgraded oil companies and investors speculated mounting US mortgage losses will hamper growth in the world's largest economy. All of the 18 industry groups in Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index fell except for telecommunications and consumer-goods stocks. The Stoxx 600 lost 0.5% to 397.79. The Stoxx 50 and the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the euro region, both decreased 0.4%. National benchmarks declined in 14 of the 18 western European markets. The UK's FTSE 100 slid 0.6% to 6,659.10 while France's CAC 40 fell 0.4% and Germany's DAX lost 0.8%. ASIA Asian stocks rose, paced by Taiwan's biggest companies after UBS AG raised its estimate for the nation's benchmark. Japanese stocks fell, led by insurers and power producers, after Monday's earthquake. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index gained less than 0.1% to 159.27 as of 7.20 p.m. in Tokyo. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.1% to 18,217.27, while the broader Topix index fell 0.3%. Asian benchmarks rose, apart from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka. Thailand's SET Index was little changed, while markets in South Korea were shut. CURRENCY The shekel gained against the dollar for the first day in three, rising to a Bank of Israel fixing of 4.2880, from 4.2907 late Monday. The yen dropped to near a record low versus the euro and the weakest since 1992 against the pound as concern eased that losses will mount in securities backed by subprime mortgage loans. The yen weakened to 168.60 per euro late morning in New York from 167.87 late Monday, approaching the all-time low of 168.95 per euro set July 13. The Japanese currency also fell to 122.31 per dollar from 121.89. Against the pound, the yen dropped to 250.21 and reached 250.27, the weakest since July 1992. COMMODITIES Crude oil rose above $75 a barrel in New York for the first time in more than 11 months on speculation that US demand will increase as refiners bolster gasoline production. Crude for August delivery rose 86 cents, or 1.2%, to $75.01 a barrel in late morning trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures reached $75.24, the highest intraday price since Aug. 10, 2006. Gold futures for August delivery rose 80 cents to $667.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the NYMEX.