HONG KONG Dow Jones Indexes, majority-owned by CME Group Inc (CME.O), launched two new regional indexes for Asia and Europe on Tuesday, applying a similar methodology to that used for the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJIA in the United States.
The indexes, dubbed the Asia Dow and the Europe Dow, each comprise 30 stocks with financials the biggest sectoral weight.
"A 30-stock index is not necessarily ideal as a benchmark for asset managers but it does lend itself well to investible products such as ETFs, for which there is a lot of demand from mutual funds and other investors," said John Prestbo, editor and executive director of Dow Jones Indexes. "We see the index as a shorthand expression of the regional market."
Seven of the component stocks on the Asia Dow are based in Japan, the most of any nation in the index followed by Australia, China and Hong Kong with four each.
Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), and the Hong Kong listings of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd (1398.HK) and HSBC Holdings Plc (0005.HK) are some of the large Asian blue-chips included in the Asian index.
The Asia Dow takes a slightly different approach from others in that Japan and Australia are also included in a Pan-Asian index.
Traditionally, the regional investment landscape has been split into Japan and Asia excluding Japan, partly because of the developed nature and larger size and depth of the Japanese equity market compared with the rest of Asia.
"We are sensitive to Japan's size, but I think there is a countervailing trend here of looking at the region as a single equity market which would include Japan," said Prestbo.
Southeast Asia also finds representation in the Asia Dow with one company each from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, namely Astra International (ASII.JK), CIMB Group Holdings Bhd (CIMB.KL) and Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd (JARD.SI).
(Reporting by Vikram Subhedar; Editing by Chris Lewis)