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MES

MSCI, the firm responsible for developing and maintaining some of the most widely-followed indexes in the world, announced on Wednesday that Qatar and the United Arab Emirates would remain classified under frontier status until at least the middle of 2012, ending speculation over whether the two Middle East economies would be upgraded to emerging status. The decision ended weeks of speculation that had spurred increased activity as market participants sought to anticipate the ramifications of an upgrade.

MSCI cited the “stringent foreign ownership limits, including on large companies” imposed by Qatar as a remaining hurdle that must be cleared before an upgrade is possible. “Any change to the status of the MSCI Qatar Index is conditional upon a meaningful increase of foreign ownership limit levels applied to Qatari companies resulting in increased foreign room,” said MSCI in a press release. [click to continue…]

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Investors have become familiar with the term “contagion” in recent years, but most are accustomed to hearing the phenomenon discussed in relation to sovereign debt defaults in Europe or across U.S. municipalities. But in recent days the Middle East has seen a wave of revolutionary protests and rallies spread across the region, as what began as calls for democratic overhauls in Cairo has quickly spread to a handful of other countries. [click to continue…]

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For businessmen and women who regularly travel to the Middle East, last week saw the unveiling of a nightmare: a BlackBerry blackout across much of the region starting later this year. The United Arab Emirates announced recently that it will begin banning users of BlackBerry mobile phones from using email, instant messaging, and web browsing […]

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On the western coast of the Persian Gulf, one tiny country has earned a slew of rather unique distinctions that would surprise most U.S. investors. Qatar–which on a map looks like a tiny thumb sticking into the Persian Gulf–is among the fastest growing economies in the world. Though tiny in terms of population, the country’s […]

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After the Dubai debt crisis late last year, many investors feared that the Gulf boom was quickly coming to an end. But obituaries written for the Gulf economy turned out to be premature, as Gulf States such as the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain have bounced back from that scare to post solid returns in 2010. […]

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A number of winning streaks came to a halt on Friday, as a generally solid start to earnings season was overshadowed by reports of fraudulent behavior at Goldman Sachs. Financial ETFs plummeted on Friday as anxiety over the regulatory backlash sent the sector sharply lower. Markets will look to another wave or earnings reports next […]

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The rise of the ETF industry is often attributed (in large part at least) to a shift in investor preference from pricey active management to low-cost indexing strategies. ETFs burst on to the investment scene by offering fees equivalent to only a fraction of those charged by traditional actively-managed mutual funds, and have continued to […]

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Total ETF assets grew by more than $240 billion in 2009, as funds continued to flow from traditional actively-managed mutual funds and issuers introduced more than 100 new products. Despite some suggestions that the a saturation point is nearing (or has perhaps even been passed), the ETF industry is poised to continue its rapid expansion […]

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When U.S. investors returned from a Thanksgiving break last month, they were greeted by chaos in Dubai, as the government moved to restructure Dubai World, its corporate flagship, and temporarily halt debt payments to certain creditors. The announcement threw up red flags around the world, with the most bearish of investors speculating that Dubai would […]

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The beginning of December brought more good news for the ETF industry, as cash continued to flow in and innovative new products continued to gain traction with investors. It was an active week on Wall Street as well, with a pleasant surprise from the jobs front wrapping up a week that saw continued rises in […]

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Although U.S. markets were quiet on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, an unexpected development halfway across the globe is likely to send domestic markets sharply lower when investors return from their brief vacation. The Dubai government said on Thursday that it would restructure Dubai World, its corporate flagship, and begin a six-month halt on debt […]

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Iraq Opens Its Doors: Oil & Gas ETFs In Focus

by on June 25, 2009 | Updated August 12, 2009

Big oil is turning its attention to Iraq once again. But this time, instead of fear and dread, oil companies are looking to the Gulf state with hope and optimism. In recent years, the Iraqi oil industry usually made the news for all the wrong reasons: sabotages of pipelines, bomb attacks at drilling sites, employee […]

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