Tel Aviv-25 Index falls once again

Trading in Tel Aviv ended Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m. because of a labor union dispute.

SHARES TEL AVIV The Tel Aviv-25 Index fell for the second time this week, losing 0.85, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,047.15 at the close in Tel Aviv, even as 15 members gained and 10 dropped. Investors traded about NIS 1.69 billion in shares and convertible securities. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said trading ended Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m. because of a labor union dispute. Bezeq Ltd. increased to the highest in six weeks, climbing 1.6%. Israel's biggest telecommunications company posted a fourth-quarter profit as it cut expenses and boosted revenue at its mobile unit. Elbit Imaging Ltd. advanced for the first time in four days, rising 2.8%. Plaza Centers NV, the shopping mall developer controlled by the Israeli property company, said it had bought a 31,000 square-meter site in Targu Mures, Romania, its seventh acquisition in the country. Elbit Systems Ltd. snapped three days of declines, gaining 2.2%. Israel's biggest non-state defense company said fourth-quarter profit had risen 33% as acquisitions boosted sales and the company had a one-time tax gain. WALL STREET Wall Street rebounded sharply Tuesday after the Federal Reserve and other central banks said they would pump $200 billion into the financial markets to help ease the strain from the credit crisis. The Dow Jones industrials surged more than 300 points. In mid-afternoon trading, the Dow shot up 336.88, or 2.87%, to 12,077.03. The index - which lost more than 500 points in the last three sessions - is still down about 2,000 points from its October 2007 record high. Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 37.28, or 2.93%, to 1,310.65, while the Nasdaq composite index added 66.21, or 3.05%, to 2,235.55. EUROPE European stocks rose Tuesday following concerted action by the major central banks to add liquidity to the global money markets. The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index climbed 1.2% to 307.82. In terms of national markets, the UK's FTSE 100 Index was up 1.1% to 5,690.4; France's CAC-40 Index rose 1.3% to 4,627.7; Germany's DAX Index gained 1.2% to 6,524.6. ASIA Asian markets advanced Tuesday as Hong Kong's key index rose for a second day and Japanese stocks rebounded from a two-year low. Markets in South Korea, India and China rose. Down under, markets in Australia and New Zealand declined. In Tokyo, investors bought shares in beaten-down sectors such as steel and real estate. The Nikkei 225 index rose 126.15 points, or 1.01%, to 12,658.28. The index on Monday slumped nearly 2% to its lowest level since September 1, 2005.(News agencies) CURRENCIES The shekel climbed as much as 1.7% to 3.5165 per dollar in Tel Aviv, the highest since October 1997, from 3.5785 on Monday. It has been the best performer among 11 emerging-market currencies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the past five days. The euro soared to a new high against the dollar on Tuesday - but then fell back after the central banks announced another joint effort to soothe money markets with more short-term credit. The euro initially was bolstered by a better-than-expected reading of investor sentiment from Germany that pushed it to $1.5495 in late-morning European trading. The rise in the ZEW institute's monthly confidence index - a closely watched indicator for Europe's biggest economy - defied analysts' predictions of a slight decline. The report pushed the euro above its previous all-time high of $1.5463, set Friday. But after the central banks' announcement, the euro plunged as low as $1.5283. It later clawed back some ground, rising to $1.5347 in late afternoon trading - below the $1.5352 it bought in New York late Monday. COMMODITIES Gold prices rose modestly. Gold for April delivery gained $4.60 to fetch $976.40 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier rising as high as $987.80. The metal has gained 15% this year and rose 31% in 2007. Gold has been hovering near the $1,000 mark for days but has so far been unable to breach the psychologically important milestone despite a tumbling dollar and crude oil's record-setting rally. Other precious metals also rose. In energy markets, crude oil continued its upward trek, rising to a new trading record after the International Energy Agency cut its forecasts for crude consumption this year. Light, sweet crude for April delivery surged to a new record of $109.72 a barrel on the Nymex before pulling back slightly to $108.89, still up 99 cents.