Israeli Stocks Lock Down Dividends Amid Pandemic Jitters

israeli stocks
A stock ticker screen in the lobby of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. (Flash90/File)

Companies trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange have been scrimping on dividends due to the uncertain business climate caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Times of Israel on Sunday.

Data released by the TASE show that in the first half of this year, publicly traded firms paid out 40 percent less in dividends than the same period last year. So far in 2020, they paid 5.7 billion shekels ($1.65 billion), compared to 9.5 billion a year ago.

Just 108 firms paid out a dividend in the first half of this year, versus 163 in the first half of 2019.

In March and April, 10 companies announced their decision not to make or to suspend a dividend distribution that was to be distributed for 2019 earnings under their distribution policies, TASE said.

Meanwhile, trading on the TASE rose on Sunday. The Tel Aviv 35 Index was up 1.22%, to 1,377.79 points; the Tel Aviv 125 Index went up 1.13%, to 1,353.11 points; and the BlueTech Global Index climbed 0.63%, to 451.21 points. The TelBond 20 corporate bond index rose 0.08%, to 351.51 points. Turnover totaled NIS 890 million in equities and NIS 1.75 billion in bonds.

On the foreign exchange market, the Bank of Israel set the shekel 0.377% higher on Friday at NIS 3.434/$, and the representative shekel-euro rate was set 0.090% higher, at NIS 3.903/€.

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