The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) fell sharply in afternoon trading on Wednesday after initial gains. Along with European markets, the TASE turned tail as yields on 10-year Italian government bonds soared to new highs at 7.3%, past the 7% level that analysts call the point of no return. The European Central Bank is buying Italian bonds in an effort to lower their yields.
Asian markets, which closed before today's European turmoil began, rose. As of noon, futures point to losses of up to 1.6% at the opening on Wall Street.Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that he will step down after parliament passes economic reforms, while in Greece, parliament has not yet been able to pick a new prime minister to replace George Papandreou.
The Tel Aviv 25 Index fell 2.5% in early afternoon to 1,098 points, and the Tel Aviv 100 Index is down 2.1% to 999 points.