Market Report / TASE Touches an 18-month High

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The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange reached an 18-month high for much of the trading session Sunday, but in the last hour of trading that record was whittled away, apparently due to several institutional investors offloading a raft of shares.

Nevertheless, the benchmark TA-25 index still showed a gain of nearly 0.9% for the day, ending at 1,237.28 points, while the broader TA-100 walked away with a smaller rise of 0.6% to leave it at 1,102.89. For a Sunday, without any foreign investors present, turnover was a relatively high NIS 908 million.

There were two reasons for the rise Sunday. At home, there was a sense of relief that the most critical aspect of the coalition talks were now over, with Yair Lapid agreeing to take the finance portfolio. Meanwhile, world equity markets rallied and the U.S. dollar strengthened on Friday after an unexpectedly sharp jump in U.S. employment in February reinforced the view that the world's biggest economy is gaining traction.

The Dow Jones industrial average posted its fourth consecutive intraday and closing record highs, while European shares and a gauge of global equity markets rose to their highest levels in more than four and a half years.

The dollar touched a three-and-a-half-year high against the yen and a three-month peak against the euro. In Friday trading, however, the dollar weakened close to 0.8% against the shekel, to a Bank of Israel rate of NIS 3.695, while the euro retreated a more moderate 0.2% to NIS 4.838.

"In the last few weeks the local stock market has been like a rubber band that stretches more and more and

Yair Lapid, center, leader of Yesh Atid party, at opening session of Israel's newly elected parliament in Jerusalem, Feb. 5, 2013.Credit: AP

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