MSCI, a New York-based index provider, announced this week that Serbia and Lithuania will join its 19-member Frontier Markets Index after the close of trading on Nov. 25. In addition, Ghana, Botswana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago may also gain “frontier market” status by May 2009, the index provider said. The classification was created by MSCI for stock markets that have less-developed economies and financial markets than emerging markets, and that typically have more restrictions on foreign stock ownership.

Some of these nation’s more notable firms, per Bloomberg, include:

  • Lithuania’s AB TEO LT, the country’s biggest communications company, and AB Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai, the operator of power grids in eastern Lithuania. Shares of both Vilnius-based companies have fallen 40 percent and 51 percent, respectively, this year.
  • In Serbia, the Belgrade-based Komercijalna Banka AD, the country’s biggest bank by market value which has lost 71 percent of its value this year, and AIK Banka AD, which has dropped 72 percent in 2008.
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