TA-100 Index (Tel Aviv) Essay

The TA-100 Index is a weighted index reflecting the major shares traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), the only stock exchange in Israel. Although there are a number of indices reflecting the various different sectors of the economy, the TA-100 Index is the most broadly based and it provides the best reflection on the health of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

The TASE has its origins in a securities market, the Exchange Bureau for Securities. It started in 1935 with support from the Anglo-Palestine Bank, and held brief meetings—sometimes lasting only three or four minutes—until the TASE was officially founded in 1953. In 1960, it started operating from premises at 113 Allenby Road in Tel Aviv. In its first eight years of operation, it gained a reputation for being one of the fastest-growing stock exchanges in the world. In 1960, the market capitalization of stocks quoted on it doubled in value, as compared to a rise of 33 percent in Tokyo, the stock exchange with the next-highest rise in capitalization at the time. This was from a small base, however, and in 1961, the exchange had only 28 members and 50 stocks and bonds traded, unlike the 1,366 members and 1,089 common stocks traded in New York. Unlike New York, whenever a stock was traded, it was offered to all members, who bid for them. Large profits were made, however, and this attracted more people to stocks and shares. As this increased, it became necessary for clients to be kept informed of the status of their investments, which also helped some people balance their portfolios. In 1964, it was reported that trading had risen 700 percent in six years, and there were about 40,000 stockholders in the entire country, which had a population of 2.5 million. The initial weighted index for share prices was the Tel Aviv Exchange General Share Index. It rose quickly as people started to balance their portfolio investments, using the share index as a way of reflecting the general trend of the market. The market had been through shaky periods, such as during the Suez crisis, but the major impetus for a rise in the early 1960s was the abolition of the market gains tax on July 13, 1965. This led to the Tel Aviv Exchange General Share Index rising from 138.36 at the end of June to 151.49 within two weeks—this was an unprecedented rise in such a short period of time.

By 1977, the investor base had increased and there were about 500,000 Israelis active in the market. By this time, there were some 200 stocks listed on the TASE, but only about 80 of these were traded regularly. Gradually the number increased, and there are currently about 660 stocks traded, with 60 of these listed on stock exchanges in other countries. Initially many people used the TA-25—the flagship index of the TASE—which included the 25 largest stocks by market capitalization. It was established in 1992 and is often known as the MAOF Index. However, some people did not feel that this provided sufficient balance for a portfolio that could be badly affected by as little as one stock trading badly. Therefore, the TA-100 was also established in 1992, consisting of the 100 largest stocks. Another index was created, the TA-75, which covers stocks that are included in the TA-100 but not in the TA-25. Of the stocks on the TA-100, the most significant four are Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, ICL, Bank Leumi, and Bank Hapoalim—these four companies each make up 9.5 percent of the exchange. It is interesting to note that Bank Leumi was originally the Anglo-Palestine Bank, the company that did so much to set up the stock market. Historically, the TA-100 has been a relatively stable indicator of the Israeli economy. It climbed from 412.20 in August 2003 to 1,005.33 in February 2007, fell back and then climbed again to 1,155.44 in December 2007, and then fluctuated from the 890s to the low 1,000s. There is a safeguard in the TASE whereby if the index falls by 10 percent, the market is immediately closed for the day to try to stop a crash. However, this was lifted on August 21, 1994, when the market closing time was extended by four hours, a move that will be introduced at other times should the market regulatory authorities deem it necessary.

Bibliography:

  1. Elizabeth M. Fowler, “Activity on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Widens Sharply,” New York Times (October 28, 1964);
  2. Clyde Haberman, “Israel’s Paradox: Surging Stock Market (And a Shaky Rabin),” New York Times (February 1, 1995);
  3. Chris Hedges, “New Tax Hits Stocks in Israel,” New York Times (August 22, 1994);
  4. Avner Kalay, Orly Sade, and Avi Wohl, “Measuring Stock Liquidity: An Investigation of the Demand and Supply Schedules at the TASE,” Journal of Financial Economics (v.74/3, 2004);
  5. Nathaniel C. Nash, “The Bulls of Tel Aviv,” New York Times (January 16, 1983);
  6. Jessica Steinberg, “Israeli Exchange Hopes Domestic Companies Keep One Foot at Home,” New York Times (July 5, 1998);
  7. Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, www.tase.co.il (cited March 2009).

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