Israel Stocks Off Record; Israel Underweighted At Citi

More signs of Israel going down the path of an economic collapse.

TEL AVIV (MarketWatch) — Israeli shares fell from their record highs on Wednesday, after Bezeq shares were downgraded at Deutsche Bank and Israel as an investment alternative was rated underweight at Citigroup.

The shekel continued to strengthen against the dollar, finishing at 4.2 against Monday’s 4.225.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s benchmark TA-25 index closed lower by 0.6% to 926.69, the TA-100 index shed 0.47% to 934.93, and the Tel-Tech 15 index of top technology stocks eased 0.3% to 380.95.

The TA-25 and TA-100 indexes set their records, 932.28 and 939.39 respectively, on Tuesday. The Tel-Tech topped out at 482.78 on Jan. 20, 2004.

Bank Hapoalim was the most active issue, finishing down 1.4% at 20.50 shekels ($4.88).

In assigning Israel an underweight rating among emerging markets, Citigroup’s analysts said that the “disappointing performance of the banks in the third quarter indicates that the decent economic-growth profile is not benefiting key sectors in the equity market as much as hoped for.”

Bank Leumi was off 1.1% at 16.83, Bank Discount shed 0.9% to 9.31, and Bank Mizrachi Tefahot fell 1.3% to 30.47.

Citi’s analysts added that they see “upside in Teva, but not for the technology sector, and we continue to see this defensive market as an appropriate funding vehicle for other positions in the region.” Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA : 32.57, +0.06, +0.2% ) finished up 0.5% at 137.4

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