from the January 2011 issue

Tel Aviv Exchange seeks to become high-tech center

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE)plans two ew technology stock indexes as part of efforts to transform itself into a high-tech center and lure overseas investment, Chief Executive Ester Levanon said. The bourse will launch a new index including 50 blue chip tech stocks which will replace the Teltech index, Levanon told a news conference. The other will include all tech stocks.

"Transforming the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange into a center for Israeli and foreign high-tech companies is a strategic target and the bourse will do all that is needed to achieve this," Levanon said.

TASE, which launched an index for biomedical companies in 2010, is also seeking an international firm to provide regular research in English, first covering high-tech companies then other Israeli companies, at a reasonable cost.

The bourse, which will guarantee the international firm a minimum income, has approached three firms and will choose one to bring to the board's approval in late January. Levanon said she expects the project to be launched in the second quarter.

Of 144 technology companies listed on TASE, 50 are dual listed, mainly on Nasdaq.

"This is not for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries or Nice Systems but for companies that are smaller and less exposed," Levanon said.

"We hope that companies will take a deep breath and enter into a process that could yield reports that are not all that flattering to the company."

Two major developments influenced trade on the bourse in 2010 -- one being the market's upgrade to developed status by MSCI on May 26, when volume hit a record 16.4 billion shekels on the day.

The other development was an offshore natural gas discovery, boosting trade in exploration stocks which subsequently accounted for a fourth of the rise in the TA-25 and TA-100 indexes. In dollar terms the TA-25 is up 212.9 percent since January 2000, compared with a rise of 167.7 percent in the MSCI emerging markets index and 0.5 percent in the Dow Jones.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report January 2011

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