Mystery seller crashes TASE

Trading suspended for 45 minutes after market dives 11 percent; later bounces back to close 4.9% down.

TASE oh shit 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy TAV fund)
TASE oh shit 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy TAV fund)
Trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange was suspended shortly before the scheduled 5:30 p.m. closing on Thursday after a panic sell-order from a major trader pushed the benchmark TA-25 Index down 11 percent. The market then bounced back to close 4.9% down. "In the late afternoon before the closure of the market, a very large sell-off of a TA-25 stock basket order by a big player sent the market diving 11%, prompting the stock exchange to halt trading," Yair Alek, CEO of Axioma Investment House, told The Jerusalem Post. "There is still much speculation about the identity of the seller." At 5:07 p.m., an order to sell all of the unidentified party's stocks covered by the TA-25 Index of highest-capitalization companies in a single transaction for a price of NIS 35.5 million caused the index to crash, after which trading was suspended. Trading was resumed after 45 minutes when the TA-25 clawed its way back to end down 4.9% for the day, to 633.72. The Tel Aviv-100 Index fell 5.33%, to 554.23, and the Tel-Tech fell 9.06%, to 123.08. Turnover was NIS 1.54 billion. Under the TASE's "English opening" policy, if the main index drops more than 5% at the opening, trading is postponed for up to five minutes. Automatic circuit-breaker rules activate if the index changes by more than 8% during the session. If the index falls by more than 12%, trading is suspended for the day. Trading on the TASE was volatile, with sharp losses of 5% following the trend on Wall Street and stocks tumbling worldwide coupled with frustration over domestic attempts to weather the global crisis. "Investors are very disappointed by the economic plan as presented by the Finance Minister [Ronnie Bar-On] on Wednesday," Alek said.