Friday, November 22, 2013

News the HP Doesn't Cover: Tel Aviv Stocks Hit Record High

Not much in the news today politically so:
Israel's blue-chip share index hit a record closing high on Wednesday, having lagged many of its counterparts across the world for nearly three years as political instability clouded investor perceptions towards the Middle East. The Tel Aviv 25 index rose 0.7% to close at 1,344.34 points, surpassing the prior record of 1,341.89 hit in April 2011 and only marginally off its all-time high. The broader TA-100 gained 0.7% to 1,213.26 points, about 40 points shy of its record.  
That took the blue-chip index's gains so far this year beyond 13%, though traders said prospects of a further rally will depend in part on how international talks with Iran over its nuclear programme progress. The index gained 9.2% in 2012 and fell 18.2% in 2011, when the Arab Spring revolts flared in neighbouring Egypt and Syria. By comparison, Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 index is up close to 15% this year after a 13.2% rise in 2012 and 10.7% decline in 2011 - itself eclipsed by Wall Street's Nasdaq Composite. "The geopolitical issues have receded a bit," said Zach Herzog, head of international sales at Psagot Securities in Tel Aviv. "The recent strength in the market is catching up to global equities." The local market this year has largely been driven by gas exploration companies, which comprise some 10% of the TA-25 index. Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration , for instance, are up nearly 30% this year. In March, the large Tamar well off Israel's Mediterranean coast began production, while the larger Leviathan site nearby is set to come online in another few years and much of its gas reserves will be for export.

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