Tokyo Stock Exchange shelves evening trade plan

[TOKYO] The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) has indefinitely shelved plan to hold a two-hour evening session, which was being considered as a way for the bourse to better compete with rivals in Europe and the United States.

With competition intensifying among the world's exchanges, officials in Tokyo in January established a round table to discuss the idea of reopening for from 9pm to 11 pm (1200-1400 GMT).

Tokyo's bourse is open for a total of five hours per day with an hour midday break - less than six and a half hours on Wall Street and also trailing London and Singapore.

But domestic brokers and institutional investors opposed the idea, citing extra staff costs that would outweigh the benefits.

The TSE "has today decided not to extend its trading hours", it said in a statement issued Tuesday.

"While many retail investors who trade through the Internet expressed a preference for night-time trading, the idea did not garner sufficient support from other retail investors, as well as domestic and international institutional investors," it added.

An exchange spokeswoman said some opponents worried about how fairly shares would be priced given the expected weak trading volume in the evening.

"But this conclusion is not our final answer to the issue, and we will keep studying the possibility of extending trading hours, as conditions in the market change over time," she told AFP on Wednesday.

Extending the afternoon trading session was also discussed, but "consensus could not be reached", the spokeswoman said.

Atsushi Saito, CEO of the TSE's parent Japan Exchange Group told reporters late Tuesday: "I regret the conclusion this time and I'm sorry for individual investors who had been expecting" the extension.

Last year, the TSE absorbed the smaller Osaka bourse, creating the world's third-largest stock market, on a par with London.

Officials said the marriage would help save costs and boost the nation's securities market as it faced stiff competition from overseas rivals following a flurry of similar mergers.

In June last year, NYSE Euronext shareholders approved an US$8.2-billion acquisition by the InterContinentalExchange, which created the world's biggest exchange operator.


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