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The reports about Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's alleged involvement in the David Appel bribery case yesterday provided a good excuse for shocks and volatility in Tel Aviv's financial markets, leading to an especially stormy trading session in both shares and foreign currency.

More than a billion shekels of shares were traded, and by the afternoon it appeared as if the market was collapsing as some shares dropped by as much as 7 percent.

But in the final hours, the frenzy dissipated. The Tel Aviv 25 closed down 0.3 percent, after being down a full 3 percent at the height of what was approaching panic proportions.