Twitter shares found suitable for Islamic investment

Reuters

DUBAI, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Shares in Twitter Inc have been found eligible for investment by Islamic funds,according to IdealRatings, a company that screens stocks todetermine whether they meet Muslim principles.

IdealRatings said it had vetted Twitter in response torequests from fund managers and individual investors around theworld. The social media company's share price soared in lastweek's New York Stock Exchange debut after a $1.8 billioninitial public offer.

Islamic fund managers follow guidelines such as bans oninvestment in firms involved with tobacco, alcohol and gambling.Since Islam frowns on monetary speculation, they also shun somecompanies that use interest payments or have high debt levels.

Twitter joins some other big U.S. technology firms,including Google and Microsoft, in being foundcompliant with Islamic or sharia principles by IdealRatings, aCalifornia-based firm which provides screening services to majorfund managers and compilers of equity indexes.

Top stocks which have been found non-compliant include Citigroup, because of its use of interest, and luxurygoods group LVMH, because it produces alcohol.IdealRatings has found about 15,000 of the 42,000 securities ithas looked at globally to be sharia-compliant, it said.

There were a total of 786 Islamic mutual funds globally with$46 billion of assets under management in September, up from $41billion at the end of 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Twitter has political significance for many people in theMuslim world because it was used to coordinate mass protestsagainst the autocratic governments toppled by the 2011 ArabSpring uprisings.

Mohamed Donia, chief executive of IdealRatings, said hiscompany had examined the material on Twitter and decided mostwas positive for users, including tweets from Islamic scholars.

"There is a lot of content but the majority of content isuseful for the community," he said by email on Monday.

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