Israeli Stocks on Longest Run Since 2006 on Valuation Gap

Israeli stocks are extending their longest winning streak since 2006 as valuations below international peers attract buyers encouraged by Federal Reserve stimulus and efforts to avert a strike on Syria.

The benchmark TA-25 Index (TA-25) advanced for a ninth day, advancing as much as 2 percent before narrowing gains at 0.6 percent to 1,260.41 by 2:13 p.m. in Tel Aviv for today’s fifth-best best performance among 94 world indexes. While the gauge is at its highest level since July 2011, valuations at 11.7 times estimated earnings are 29 percent lower than the average for the MSCI World Index of developed markets, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Tel Aviv shares jumped 3.1 percent last week as America and Russia struck a deal to take control of chemical weapons in Syria and avert a military strike on Israel’s neighbor. U.S. stocks, as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX), rose to a record last week after the Fed on Sept. 18 said it needs more evidence of lasting economic improvement before reducing its asset purchases.

“Israeli shares are cheap, which is boosting gains” Gilad Alper, a senior analyst at Ramat Gan, Israel-based Excellence Nessuah Brokerage Ltd., said by phone today. “The latest developments are also bringing back foreign investors to the market.”

Foreign investors have increased holdings in Strauss Group Ltd. (STRS), the country’s largest food producer by sales, by 2.6 percent so far this quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Jerusalem-based Rami Levi Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. (RMLI), the third-largest food retailer, has seen FMR LLC and MSD European Opportunity Fund LP, part of MSD Capital Ltd., increase stakes in the company in recent months.

Israel’s economy will expand 3.6 percent this year compared with 1.6 percent in the U.S. and a contraction of 0.4 percent in Europe, according to the average forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Wrobel in Tel Aviv at swrobel4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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