Tel Aviv-25 Index falls

Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. fell 2.2%, and Bank Hapoalim Ltd. dropped 3.4%.

SHARES TEL AVIV The Tel Aviv-25 Index fell for the first time in three days, dropping 3.69, or 0.6 percent, to 650.03 at the close in Tel Aviv. Investors traded about NIS 900 million in shares and convertible securities. Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. fell 2.2%, and Bank Hapoalim Ltd. dropped 3.4%. While Israeli banks remain in "good condition," they face a "long and difficult" period, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said Tuesday. Bio Light Israel Life Science Investments Ltd. rose 7.6%. The investor in biotechnology companies said it would cut compensation for employees and directors. WALL STREET US stocks gained for a third day as companies from Texas Instruments Inc. to Travelers Cos. and Netflix Inc. posted better-than-estimated earnings, overshadowing declines in consumer confidence and home prices. Texas Instruments and Travelers added more than 3.9%, while Netflix rallied 14%. American Express Co., the biggest US credit-card company by purchases, gained 8.4% after profit topped the most pessimistic estimates. Financial shares climbed, with Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and General Electric Co. adding more than 5% to lead the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 1.1% to 845.50 at 3:13 p.m. in New York, posting the first three-day rally since January 2. The Dow average added 65.71 points, or 0.8%, to 8,181.74. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies increased 1.2% to 455.36. EUROPE European stocks closed barely down Tuesday after US consumer confidence data for January hit a new low. Even a rise in German business confidence was not enough to boost sentiment in Europe, where Germany's benchmark DAX share index was 0.08% lower at 4,323.42. Britain's FTSE-100 index fell 0.35% to 4,194.41, while the French CAC-40 ended 0.03% lower at 2,954.53. ASIA In Asia, where many market had been closed for holidays on Monday, stocks rose, mostly to catch up with increases in other parts of the world. Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 378.93 points, or 4.9%, to 8,061.07, while Australia's S&P/ASX200 index rose 3% to 3,444. India's Sensex also advanced, gaining 3.6% to 8,982.30. CURRENCIES The shekel weakened against the dollar, losing as much as 1.1%, and was at 4.0015. The shekel has weakened 5.6% in January. The pound advanced against all of its major counterparts as concern eased that the bailout of UK banks may widen the government's deficit. The dollar traded at $1.3174 per euro, compared with $1.3189 on Monday, after touching $1.3330. The pound rose 1.2% to 93.17 pence per euro, after falling seven straight days, and increased as much as 1.8% to a one-week high of $1.4242. Barclays Plc said Monday it had retained £17 billion more in capital than required by regulators after writing down another £8b. of bad loans. COMMODITIES Crude fell the most in two weeks as US consumer confidence and home prices tumbled, signs that the recession in the biggest oil-consuming country is deepening. Oil declined as much as 6.4% after reports showed that consumer confidence sank to the lowest level on record in January as home values dropped and jobs disappeared. Crude oil for March delivery fell $4.06, or 8.9%, to $41.67 a barrel at the 2:30 p.m. close of floor trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the biggest decline since January 7. Prices are down 6.6% this year and are 54% lower than a year ago. Gold fell from the highest closing price since August on sales following a weeklong rally. Gold futures for April delivery fell $9.30, or 1%, to $901.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the metal closed at $910.70, the highest settlement since August 1.