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Last Thursday, exactly a week ago, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange made an announcement and somehow the media managed to miss a few sentences. The exchange's board decided to let Northern Trust Investments (NTI), a U.S. firm that manages $760 billion, issue an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) based on the TA-25 index of top Israeli stocks.

NTI has already applied to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for approval for the ETF. NTI is expected to issue it next year, and has exclusive rights on the TA-25 in America for between two to five years from the date it issues. While there is no exclusivity on such products in Israel, it is acceptable elsewhere in the world.

The move is expected to bring in more foreign investment to Israeli markets. In addition, Barclays' iShares Funds is expected to offer an ETF based on the MSCI Israel index.

In yesterday's trading the TASE managed to stay almost even for the day, but for the week it was down 2.8 percent. The market held its own at the beginning of the week despite steep losses on world markets, but finally gave in due to the continuing losses on the world credit crisis and the rising price of oil.

Despite a 1.3 percent drop on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, yesterday the TA-25 closed almost unchanged at 1,165.35 points. But the blue-chip index has dropped 6 percent since the start of November. The TA-100 lost 0.1 percent yesterday to close at 1,108.8 points, off 3.2 percent for the week. The TelTech-15 lost 0.2 percent. Turnover was NIS 1.7 billion.

In foreign currency markets, the dollar continued to sink, losing another 0.32 percent against the shekel. The representative rate was set at NIS 3.891.

Real estate shares eased 0.8 percent yesterday after tumbling 4 percent on Wednesday. Africa Israel dropped 2.1 percent, falling 12.7 percent for the week. The Banks-5 was down 0.3 percent. It was down about 4 percent for the week.