Mainland China shares close down on MSCI delay

Shanghai shares Image copyright AFP
Image caption Shanghai shares initially headed lower after MSCI's decision on the listing of its shares

Mainland Chinese shares closed lower on Wednesday after the US index provider MSCI held off including China-listed shares in a key benchmark index.

The delay to include the shares was seen as a setback in China's attempts to open up its financial markets and attract foreign capital.

Trading of mainland shares have been volatile but continue to hit new highs.

The Shanghai Composite closed down 0.15% to 5,106.04 after falling more than 2% earlier.

'Foreign participation'

Even though MSCI said the decision around China-listed shares would remain on its 2016 review list, the delay shows that global asset managers still have reservations about Beijing's willingness to fully open up its capital markets, according to analysts.

"The early morning announcement suggests that China needs to step up its efforts to liberalise the A shares (Shanghai) market, in particular, increasing foreign participation," said Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG Markets in a note.

Shares in China National Nuclear Power (CNNPC) jumped 20% in their Shanghai debut after raising $2.1bn (£1.3bn) in the country's largest initial public offering since 2011.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed down 1.1% to 26,687.64 points.

Japanese yen surges

Japan's Nikkei 225 also reversed earlier gains to close down 0.3% at 20,046.36, as the yen strengthened after the central bank governor said a further decline in the currency was "unlikely".

The dollar fell to as low as 122.77 yen from the day's high of 124.63 and last stood at 123.03.

Investors seemed to ignore data that showed core machinery orders unexpectedly rose in April by 3.8% from the previous month - much higher than expectations of a 2% decline and up from a 2.9% increase in March.

This is a sign that business spending is gaining strength, according to analysts, who said a weaker yen was supporting exporters and the manufacturing sector.

In an announcement made after markets closed, Japanese insurer Tokio Marine Holdings confirmed it would purchase the American-based insurance firm HCC Insurance Holdings for $7.5bn (£4.85bn).

The move is a continuation of the firm's overseas expansion as it looks outside of Japan for continued profit growth.

Rest of Asia

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 0.1% at 5,478.60 points.

Shares of Westpac ended flat after one of the country's biggest banks said that it was splitting its most profitable retail and business banking division to simplify the organisation and improve accountability.

It also announced that the manager in charge of the combined group - Jason Yetton - would leave the bank and position he has held since November 2011.

South Korean shares finished down with the benchmark Kospi index some 0.6% lower at 2,051.32.

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