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The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's main index, the TA-25, has increased 31 percent since last Rosh Hashana, while daily trading volume of shares and convertibles has increased by some 40%, reaching as high as NIS 1.8 billion, the TASE reported on Monday.
"The past year (5767) has been the fifth consecutive year in which there has been an increase in the stock market and the number of shares being traded," the exchange said. "This past year's growth places the TASE above some of the most well-established stock exchanges in the world."
According to the exchange, the remainder of 2007 is also shaping up to be quite promising due to the relative strength of the shekel against the dollar and the level of inflation, factors that exchange officials predict will continue to attract both foreign and domestic investors to the TASE listings.
Additionally, predictions are for the economy to strengthen some 5% in 2007 above numbers from last year.
"The only thing which may slow the pace of the TASE in 2007 is if in the last quarter of the year we see a combination of a much stronger dollar [against the shekel] and a much higher inflation rate, as well as a credit crisis in the US market," the stock exchange said in its report.
According to at least one market analyst, the solid growth that the TASE enjoyed over the last year stems from a combination of factors.
"First of all, we must take into account the global environment - most markets had increases and the TASE is a part of the global economy," said Michael Sarel, head of the economics and research department at Harel Insurance and Financial Group. "But we also must factor in the local economy and the microeconomic situation that we now have is strong ... Also, the security situation has not been very volatile - last year there was a war that affected the market, but this year there has been no war and suicide bombings have dropped."
Over the last year, the Israeli business sector has had returns of some NIS 23.4b. from shares that they have purchased of companies listed on the TASE, significant growth above the NIS 8b. from two years ago (5766), the exchange noted. The business sector invested about NIS 13.4b. in the stock market since last Rosh Hashana, more than three times the amount it invested last year.
The Israeli government, reported the TASE, also increased its presence in the stock market, issuing NIS 31b. worth of government "Shahar" bonds, a rise of NIS 10b. above last year. The bonds account for about half of the government's domestic debt trade on the TASE, according to numbers from the Finance Ministry.
Meanwhile, newcomers to the TASE also made their presence felt as 64 companies began listing on one of the exchanges' indexes, which, in addition to the TA-25, include the TA-100, the Tel-Tech-15, the Mid-Cap-50 and the Real Estate-15. Combined, the new companies added NIS 6.68b. to the exchange, compared to last year, when only 36 new companies began listing on the exchange, adding a total of NIS 3.39b.