Standard & Poor's Indices said it launched a Pan-Arabian stock index.

The S&P AFE 40 will measure the performance of 40 leading companies from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

The index has been conceived and launched in a partnership with the Arab Federation of Exchanges.

"We are seeing a growing interest among investors in Arab equities as this market begins to mature,'' Robert Shakotko, Managing Director at S&P Indices said. "The Arab Spring and the liberalisation of Arab countries seem to signal a new era of investment opportunities in the Arab world.''

Dr. Fadi Khalaf, Secretary General at the Arab Federation of Exchanges said the value of the benchmark will act as "an important blue chip index in the Pan-Arab region.''

The S&P AFE 40 includes the 40 largest stocks as measured by float-adjusted market capitalization listed on AFE member exchanges. There are these restrictions: Each stock must have at least $50 million in value traded over 12 months, there can be no more than 10 stocks per country, based on domicile, and at least one stock from each country must be included.

The S&P AFE 40 uses a capped market capitalization weighted index scheme, where the maximum weight of any constituent cannot exceed 10 percent of the index and the maximum weight for each country, based on domicile, cannot exceed 35%.

Separately, the Standard & Poor's ratings agency warned that all six triple A rated governments in the euro zone could be lowered to AA+ if a creditwatch review fails to convince ratings analysts that the nations can handle their debt loads. The review includes notes from France and Germany, as well as Austria, Luxembourg, Finland and the Netherlands.

Tom Steinert-Threlkeld writes for Securities Technology Monitor.



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