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Marketing move, not a bid for global domination

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Ever since Nixon went to China, the US has eyed the Chinese market lasciviously, even though the red ink continues to flow in Chinese IT investment. Yesterday, NASDAQ announced that Amgen, Applied Materials, Cisco, Dell, and Microsoft would be listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong from February. Softbank may also be involved in the SEHK launch programme. Trading will be in local currency. The Hang Seng index appeared to be unaffected by the news today, and fell 1.5 per cent. The US stocks to be traded are too high to be popular in Hong Kong, so some method of trading in fractional shares seems likely. Microsoft would be HK$751, whereas the most expensive HK share is Hutchison at HK$107.50. NASDAQ chairman Frank Zarb reiterated that he wants to expand the SEHK listings in due course to the NASDAQ 100. Some SEHK companies may be listed on NASDAQ, although HSBC and China Telecom are already listed on the NYSE. Most Hong Kong stocks are little known in the US. Expansion plans also include NASDAQ exchanges in Europe and Japan for later next year. The deal is seen more of a marketing move for NASDAQ than any form of global domination. The NYSE will be meeting in January in Europe to discuss the so-called G-9 alliance of the nine largest exchanges in the world, except for NASDAQ that is. The benefit of 24-hour trading will probably have as much impact as 24-hour supermarkets - a little more convenience for some, but low volumes. Most trading will continue to take place where there is most liquidity. ®

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