Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday appointed Ehud Olmert as interim Finance Minister in place of Benjamin Netanyahu, who resigned earlier on the day.

Sharon is scheduled to meet Olmert, who heads the Israeli Industry and Trade Ministry, on Monday to discuss the objectives of the new post.

In 2003, as Sharon was appointing the current cabinet, he informed Olmert that he had decided to appoint him Finance Minister, but he changed his mind a day later and appointed Netanyahu.

The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Olmert is expected to be warmly welcomed by the Israeli financial market and Treasury officials. Olmert is expected to continue Netanyahu’s policies, Haaretz reported.

On Sunday Sharon, according to his office, called Stanley Fischer, Governor of Bank of Israel, and told him that the resignation of Netanyahu would not affect the economic policy and the upcoming state budget.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange sharply dropped 5 percent within minutes after the resignation was announced. Netanyahu’s policies of privatization, spending cuts, lower taxes and reform of the capital markets and the banking system enjoyed wide support among financiers and large investors.