Bank Hapoalim Ltd. (POLI) led gains on Tel Aviv’s benchmark index on investor speculation a four-day drop in the shares of Israel’s second-biggest bank by assets was overdone.
Bank Hapoalim advanced 1.1 percent, the biggest gain since Feb. 12, to 12.16 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. The TA-25 benchmark rose 0.2 percent. Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank Ltd. (MZTF) climbed 1 percent to 30.50 shekels.
The index had fallen 4 percent in the three days through yesterday, partly due to concerns raised by central bank Governor Stanley Fischer about growth in Europe, one of Israel’s biggest export markets. Investors also sold stocks after a committee on economic concentration recommended last week that holding companies simplify corporate structures to no more than three public layers within four years. Hapoalim dropped 8.7 percent in the four trading days through yesterday.
“The bank shares are stronger today in response to the sharp declines in the sector yesterday, along with the broad market declines,” Zach Herzog, equity sales trader at the Tel Aviv based Psagot Investment House Ltd.
Shares Bank Hapoalim are trading at 6.1 times estimated earnings, below 9.6 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets Financials Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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