TEL AVIV Nov 18 Tel Aviv shares rose for the
first time in nearly two weeks on Sunday, as investors believe
fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza
Strip will not impact the local economy.
The broad Tel Aviv 100 index was up 0.4 percent at
1049.28 points at midday trade in very light turnover of 170
million shekels ($43 million). The index last rose on Nov. 6.
Since then, it has lost about 3.5 percent.
The blue chip TA-25 was up 0.6 percent.
Fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants continued
for a fifth straight day, with Hamas firing two rockets at Tel
Aviv, but Israel's Iron Dome air shield shot them down. Israel,
meanwhile, continued to strike at militant targets in Gaza.
Steven Shein, a trader at the Psagot brokerage, said
investors had braced for the worst ahead of the weekend - rocket
fire hitting Tel Aviv and a ground invasion of Gaza by Israeli
troops to stop Hamas rocket fire into Israel.
"The big fear was a hit on Tel Aviv and central Israel, but
they failed because Israel has got the defence system working,"
he said, adding that the market has also been encouraged by talk
of a possible cease-fire in the near term.
"The general feeling is that the economy is resilient to
this scope of the conflict," he said.
He added that even when the market fell on Wednesday and
Thursday at the outset of the conflict, declines were muted.
Still, should fighting escalate throughout the day foreign
investors may opt to sell when they re-enter the market on
Monday, Shein said.
Government bond prices also rose modestly. The
foreign exchange market is closed on Sunday. The shekel
was fixed at 3.9520 on Friday, unchanged from Thursday.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen)