S&P launches Islamic equity indices: report

The U.S.-based index provider Standard & Poor's (S&P) launched a series of Sharia indices in the Gulf region for Muslim investors, local newspaper Gulf News reported Wednesday.

The new indices -- S&P Saudi Sharia, S&P Bahrain Sharia, S&P Kuwait Sharia, S&P Oman Sharia, S&P Qatar Sharia, S&P United Arab Emirates Sharia, in addition to an S&P GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Investable Sharia and an S&P GCC Composite Sharia Index -- include only those stocks which comply with Sharia law, the report said.

The new S&P Sharia indices will pave the way for the creation of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and structured products that will enhance liquidity and improve risk management across the Gulf's highly concentrated equity markets, the report added.

"A lack of globally accepted benchmarks and other tailored investment tools is constraining the development of Sharia-related equity investing around the world," Alka Banerjee, vice-president of Standard & Poor's Index Services, was quoted as saying.

"Together, these new S&P Sharia indices will provide Islamic investors and asset managers with a rigorous and consistent set of benchmarks and offer product providers the opportunity to develop structured products tailored to the Islamic market," he said.

As a leading provider of financial market intelligence, S&P publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds.

Its products and services include credit ratings, equity research, S&P indices, funds, risk solutions, governance services, evaluations, and data services.

Source: Xinhua

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