Mixed sessions in Asian markets; ASX-SGX planned merger rejected

<p>Japanese shares went on the reverse today and were trading lower, led by Tokyo Electric Power Co, which extended their losses on news that the […]</p>

Japanese shares went on the reverse today and were trading lower, led by Tokyo Electric Power Co, which extended their losses on news that the nuclear power situation remains unresolved. Banking and finance as well as manufacturing stocks were also lower. The Nikkei 225 Index was treading water most of the day and was down around 30 points.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was up by almost 1 per cent as shares did not react to China’s decision to increase interest rate yesterday. Hong Kong listed China shares were also trading higher while Shanghai listed equities were more bullish.

In Australia, shares recovered in the afternoon after a tentative start. The Healthcare and Materials sectors led the overall index higher. The big news for the day is the decision by the Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan to reject the planned merger of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX). Mr Wan said the merger is ‘not in the national interest’, though this was seen as a lack of political will on the part of the Labor government.

The Australian dollar remains supported at the 1.033 level despite the decision by the Australian Reserve Bank (RBA) to put interest rates on hold. The Aussie looks set for further up move in the short-term given the demand for commodities, a strong Australian economy and the interest rate differential against other currencies.

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