Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria deliver strong returns for Shariah investors

Extended S&P Global Benchmark Shariah Index Series Reveals World’s Best & Worst Performing Markets, Sectors

Equity markets in Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria delivered the highest returns for investors in companies deemed to comply with Islamic law during the first quarter of 2008, Standard & Poor’s Global Benchmark Shariah Index Series has revealed. Conversely, Shariah-compliant equities in Turkey, China and India experienced the largest declines over the quarter.

Standard & Poor’s, the world’s leading index provider, announced the findings today after expanding the S&P Global Shariah Index Series with the launch of more than 60 new country plus sector-specific Shariah indices. This enchanced index series screens more than 12,000 stocks from 52 developed and emerging markets as well as 10 GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard) sectors, making it by far the world’s broadest Shariah equity dataset available to date.

« Islamic investors seeking a structured approach to investment now have the ability to measure their performance according to strict geographic and sector preferences, » says Alka Banerjee, Vice President of Index Services at Standard & Poor’s. « The launch of these new country and sector indices completes the rollout of the S&P Global Benchmark Shariah Index Series, which now covers more than $34 trillion of the world’s market capitalization. »

During the first quarter of 2008, Shariah-compliant equities in Morocco returned 34.45% on a total return basis, followed by Egypt (18.93%) and Nigeria (13.42%). In Turkey, Shariah-compliant stocks fell by 26.67%, followed by China (-26.57%) and India (-26.43%). For a complete breakdown of performance by country and sector, please contact the media representatives listed below.

Standard & Poor’s Shariah Indices are screened by Ratings Intelligence Partners, a Kuwait-based consulting company specialising in the Islamic investment market. Ratings Intelligence Partners researchers interface directly with a dedicated Shariah Supervisory Board. The Board is comprised of a group of Islamic scholars whose role is to interpret business issues as well as financial practices and recommend actions in relation to Shariah index management.

Standard & Poor’s Shariah Indices undergo sector and accounting-based screens that exclude businesses that offer products and services which are considered unacceptable or non-compliant according to Shariah-law, such as advertising and media (newspapers are allowed, sub-industries are analyzed individually), alcohol, financials, gambling, pork, pornography, tobacco, and the trading of gold and silver as cash on a deferred basis. All S&P Shariah Index constituents are monitored on a daily basis to ensure that the indices maintain strict Shariah compliance.

S&P London, Press Release April 14, 2008

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