European stocks post biggest gains in over a year

Israeli stocks gained for a second day on Monday, led by Bank Hapoalim Ltd. and Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., the country's largest banks.

SHARES TEL AVIV Israeli stocks gained for a second day on Monday, led by Bank Hapoalim Ltd. and Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., the country's largest banks. The TA-25 Index added 5.93, or 0.6 percent, to 1,086.19 at the close in Tel Aviv. Investors traded about NIS 1.82 billion of shares and convertibles. Bank Hapoalim, Israel's biggest bank, advanced NIS 0.71, or 3.7%, to NIS 19.75. Bank Leumi, the country's No. 2 bank, rose NIS 0.28, or 1.8%, to NIS 15.66. "Both Hapoalim and Leumi supported our belief that the direct and indirect exposure to the US subprime mortgage market and collateral debt obligations is minimal," Haim Israel, an analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co., wrote in an e-mailed report Monday. "We expect no impact on upcoming second quarter results." The S&P 500 Investment Banking & Brokerage Index has lost 18% in the last month as difficulties stemming from subprime mortgages in the US spread through credit markets. Bezeq Ltd. gained NIS 0.08, or 1.2%, to NIS 6.95. Israel's biggest telecommunications provider will probably say second-quarter profit rose 28% to NIS 370 million, according to a median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The Tel Aviv-based company will report today (Tuesday). Delek Group Ltd., a holding company with stakes in real estate and energy, rose NIS 12.40, or 1.3%, to NIS 1,001. Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. jumped NIS 3.75, or 10%, to NIS 40.98. Highs Communications Inc., a US company that provides satellite-based networks for businesses and government, plans a bid for Gilat at $12 a share, Yediot Ahronot said, without saying where it got the information. "We don't comment on rumors about financial matters," Judy Blake, a spokeswoman at Hughes Communications said by telephone. Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd., the world's largest producer of generic agrochemicals, advanced NIS 0.77, or 2.5%, to NIS 31.25. The company will probably say second-quarter profit increased 30% to $52.3m., according to the median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Tel Aviv-based Makhteshim will report today. Ormat Industries Ltd., the second-largest operator of geothermal power plants in the US, rose NIS 0.88, or 1.6%, to NIS 54.40 ahead of its second-quarter earnings report today. WALL STREET Stocks rose after retail sales exceeded economists' estimates. The S&P 500 added 7.46, or 0.5%, to 1,461.1 as of morning trading in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 59.75, or 0.5%, to 13,299.29, while the Nasdaq Composite Index increased 15.34, or 0.6%, to 2,560.23. EUROPE Stocks rose the most in more than a year after central banks pumped cash into the money market. The Stoxx 600 added 2.3% to 371.15 at the close in London. The gain is the biggest since June 2006. The Stoxx 50 jumped 2.7% percent, and the Euro Stoxx 50, rose 2.3%. The UK's FTSE 100 gained 3% to 6,219, the biggest increase since April 2003, France's CAC 40 added 2.2% and Germany's DAX rose 1.8%. ASIA Stocks rose, following their biggest drop in five months. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.3% to 149.61 at 7:51 p.m. in Tokyo. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 0.2% to 16,800.05. CURRENCY The shekel was trading at 4.2148 to the dollar at 7:00 p.m. in Tel Aviv. The dollar advanced 0.5% to $1.3629 per euro and 0.5% to $2.0131 per pound as investors turned to the US currency for safety amid credit risks. COMMODITIES Crude oil for September delivery rose $1.44, or 2%, to $72.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold for December delivery fell 50 cents to stand at $681.10 an ounce on the NYMEX.