Market animals are evidently quaking over the results that Bank Leumi will be presenting for the third quarter of 2008. Fear would explain why the bank's stock has lost 16% inside of a week.
Leumi's third-quarter report is due in late November.
From January 1, Leumi stock has outperformed its peers, while Bank Hapoalim led the downtrend. But in the last week Hapoalim lost "only" 7.5%.
The reason is probably that investors know perfectly well what Hapoalim will be reporting for the second half of 2008, because the bank has issued an earnings warning, saying its profit will apparently be just NIS 1 billion. It also admitted that it will be posting a loss on regular banking operations. But the market has no information about Bank Leumi.
The players suspect Leumi might even slide into the red. For one thing, it was the most exposed of Israel's banks to the defunct investment bank Lehman Bros, and is suing to regain $100 million for a position it closed - without getting its money.
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