There was enormous tension Sunday morning on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the first market to open worldwide after S&P announced that it was downgrading the US credit rating from AAA to AA+. The TASE was expected to fall sharply both because of the downgrading but also because of losses on global markets Friday when the Israeli exchange was closed. The Tel Aviv 25 Index was down 6.5 pecent in the opening hour to 1079.13 points.
Last week the TASE had its worst week since 2008 with the Tel Aviv 25 Index losing 6.3%. Sunday morning's falls were the Israeli markets eighth straight day of losses.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz reportedly consulted with economic experts Saturday night and decided to close the stock exchange should the falls reach panic proportions.