TA-25 slips as Makhteshim projects loss

The benchmark TA-25 Stock Index shed 0.1% to 933.32, as 13 stocks dropped and 12 climbed. Investors bought and sold about NIS 1.67 billion in shares and convertibles.

SHARES TEL AVIV Israel's benchmark index closed little changed. Makhteshim Agan Industries Ltd. led declining stocks after the world's largest maker of generic agrochemicals said it will post a loss in the fourth quarter. The benchmark TA-25 Stock Index shed 0.1 percent to 933.32, as 13 stocks dropped and 12 climbed. Investors bought and sold about NIS 1.67 billion in shares and convertibles. Makhteshim Agan fell 1.1% to NIS 25.11. The Tel Aviv-based company said it will post a fourth- quarter loss of as much as $40 million, compared with a profit of $47 million last year because of ``weak conditions in the agrochemical market.'' Elbit added 1.9% to NIS 142.10 after its Cyclone Aviation Products Ltd. unit won a $6 million-dollar contract from a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. Discount Investment Corp., a holding company, added 1.1% to NIS 120.20. Super-Sol Ltd., Israel's largest retailer, climbed 2.6% to NIS 17.55. Discount Investment is weighing the sale of its Super-Sol unit to a partnership of Canadian investors Matthew Bronfman and Yaakov Shalom Fisher. Ormat Industries Ltd., a maker and operator of geothermal power turbines, rose 1.6% to NIS 48.45. Ormat Technologies Inc., which is 69% owned by Ormat Industries, signed an option agreement to provide recovered energy to Basin Electric Power Cooperative. Ormat, a US maker and operator of geothermal power plants, stands to earn approximately $8m. in yearly revenue from the deal. Tadiran Communications Ltd. advanced 2.5% to NIS 174.30. The Israeli maker of communications systems received an order worth $20.5m. from Israel's Defense Ministry for communications equipment. XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. Jumped 23% NIS 1.64, the biggest gain the company has ever posted. A unit of the developer of treatments for hepatitis C said it will license DOV Pharmaceutical Inc.'s Bicifadine drug for payments that may reach $126.5m. WALL STREET The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped from a six-year high, led by Intel Corp., on concern earnings at computer-related companies will fall short of expectations. The Nasdaq slipped 0.3% to 2,495.46 as of early afternoon trade Tuesday in New York, retreating from its highest close since February 2001. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.11 to 1429.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6% to 12,548.63. Markets in the U.S. were closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. EUROPE European stocks declined for the first time in four days after a slump in oil prices sent energy companies lower. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index declined 0.6% to 372.02 at the close in London. The Stoxx 50 fell 0.6% and the Euro Stoxx 50, a measure for the 13 nations sharing the euro, dropped 0.4%. National benchmarks fell in 15 of 18 western European markets. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 0.8% to 6,215.70. Germany's DAX dropped 0.2% and France's CAC 40 declined 0.7%. ASIA Asian stocks rose after retailer David Jones Ltd. said holiday sales beat expectations and Goldman, Sachs & Co. told investors to buy shares of Japanese electronic component makers such as Murata Manufacturing Co. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.08 point to 140.29 at late trade in Tokyo. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average was little changed down 0.04% to 17,202.46. CURRENCIES The dollar touched a 13-month high against the yen Tuesday, after a media report suggested the Bank of Japan may hold interest rates steady this week. In late Tuesday morning New York trading, the euro stood at $1.2925, compared with $1.2950 late Monday. The dollar was quoted at 120.69 yen, compared with 120.43 yen, after earlier rising to 120.76, the highest level since December 12, 2005. The pound traded at $1.9603, compared with $1.9652. The euro fetched 156.03 yen, compared with 155.57 yen. See live currency rates. COMMODITIES Crude oil fell to a 19-month low in New York after Saudi Arabia's oil minister rejected calls for more production cuts. Crude oil for February delivery fell 2.9% to $51.48 a barrel at midday trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $51.15, the lowest since May 31, 2005. Gold futures for February delivery declined 0.4% to $624.50 an ounce at late morning trade on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. (News Agencies)