TA-25 drops, paced by Bank Hapoalim

The TA-25 Index lost 1.88, or 0.2 percent, to 1,195.08 at the close in Tel Aviv.

SHARES TEL AVIV Israel's TA-25 Index declined on Monday, led by Bank Hapoalim Ltd. Elbit Systems Ltd. rose. The TA-25 Index lost 1.88, or 0.2 percent, to 1,195.08 at the close in Tel Aviv. Investors traded about NIS 2.11 billion in shares and convertible securities. Hapoalim dropped NIS 0.33, or 1.7%, to NIS 19.09. The stock has fallen 11% in the past four days to its lowest since September 16. The country's second-largest bank by assets on Sunday announced the departure of its chief financial officer. The Tel Aviv-based bank also said it will take a $12 million charge in the third quarter on about $365m. it holds in structured investment vehicles. Elbit climbed NIS 9.40, or 4.7%, to NIS 211.70. Israel's biggest non-government defense company said it won a $30m. order to supply the Israeli Defense Force with unmanned spy planes. Africa Israel Investments Ltd. gained NIS 3.30, or 0.8%, to NIS 399. The property development and holding company controlled by Lev Leviev will probably agree to buy Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. by the end of the week, Ma'ariv reported, citing unidentified people participating in the talks. Nice Systems Ltd. rose NIS 1.90, or 1.4%, to NIS 139.50. The Israeli maker of digital recording systems had the recommendation on its shares raised to "market outperform" from "market perform" and its price estimate increased to $41 from $37 at Clal Finance Batucha Investment Management Ltd. The Ra'anana-based company also announced Monday that the largest US satellite-television provider will expand its use of Nice's software. WALL STREET Stocks rose for the first time in four days after investors snapped up shares of banks, brokerages and department stores that had fallen to their cheapest valuations in at least 12 years. Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. led the gains. International Business Machines Corp., the world's largest computer-services company, climbed the most since July after agreeing to buy business-software maker Cognos Inc. in the biggest takeover of a technology company in a month. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 6.39, or 0.4%, to 1,460.09 during late morning trading in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 73.16, or 0.6%, to 13,115.9. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.66, or 0.1%, to 2,630.6. About three stocks advanced for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Monday's rally in financial and consumer-related stocks helped the US stock market rebound from a drop last week that sent the S&P 500 to a two-month low. EUROPE Stocks ended three days of declines. Bank shares rallied after valuations dropped to the cheapest in seven years. Barclays Plc, the UK's third-biggest bank, and Germany's Deutsche Postbank AG advanced. Northern Rock Plc gained after Olivant Advisers Ltd. said it may buy a stake in the lender that was bailed out by the Bank of England. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added less than 0.1% to 367.69. Concern that losses related to the US subprime mortgage market will increase pushed the Stoxx 600 Banks Index down 7% last week, the steepest drop since October 2002. Bank shares in the Stoxx 600 were valued at 8.7 times earnings last week, their cheapest level since 2000. BP Plc, Europe's second-largest oil company, and Total SA of France retreated with crude oil prices, limiting the benchmark's gain. National benchmarks rose in 9 of the 18 western European markets. France's CAC 40 added 0.2%, Germany's DAX decreased 0.1% and the UK's FTSE 100 climbed 0.5% to 6,337.9. The Stoxx 50 added 0.4%, while the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the euro region, increased 0.1%. ASIA Stocks tumbled, sending a regional index to its biggest drop in three months, on speculation HSBC Holdings Plc and other banks will report increased losses related to US subprime mortgages. Japan's Nintendo Co., which gets two-thirds of sales abroad, led declines among exporters after the dollar slumped against the yen. PetroChina Co. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. fell after the price of crude oil dropped. HSBC slumped 2.8% after the Daily Telegraph newspaper said it may announce $1b. of bad debts and Morgan Stanley cut its rating. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia Pacific Index fell 2.9% to 158.11. Benchmarks slid in the region, except for Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Nikkei Index fell 2.48% to 15,197.09. Nintendo, maker of the Wii game console, fell 4.2% to 58,800 yen. It loses 3 billion yen in profit from operations for every 1 yen that the currency strengthens against the dollar. Honda Motor Co., Japan's No. 2 automaker, slid 3.6% to 3,760 yen. North America accounted for more than half of Honda's sales in the 12 months ended March 2007. CURRENCY The shekel fell the most against the dollar in more than a month as a decline in the country's stocks and bonds crimped demand for the currency. Against the dollar, the shekel fell as much as 1.2%, the most since October 9, and traded at 3.9620 by 6:53 p.m. in Tel Aviv, from 3.9230 on November 9. The yen rose 1.1% to 109.50 per dollar during late morning trading New York, the highest since May 2006. The dollar rose 1% against the euro to $1.4538, from $1.4678 last week. COMMODITIES Crude oil fell more than $2 a barrel on forecasts for reduced US consumer spending and on slowing growth of oil imports in China. Crude oil for December delivery fell $2.45, or 2.5%, to $93.87 a barrel during morning action on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold tumbled more than 3% after the yen strengthened against major currencies, slowing the pace of investment in the precious metal and other commodities. Gold futures for December delivery fell $26.60, or 3.2%, to $808.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the NYMEX.