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The Largest Index in Asia Has a Unique Quality: Taking Stock

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From Australia up to Japan and across to India, Asia’s $9 trillion benchmark stock index already trades through plenty of time zones in the region, but here’s an interesting quirk: A sizable chunk of the group doesn’t even start trading until long after most investors have gone home.

Internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. headline a group of almost two dozen MSCI Asia Pacific Index members, many of them based in China, that trade in the U.S. The companies have a combined market value of more than $790 billion, accounting for about a 5 percent weighting in the benchmark -- enough to have an impact on the overall direction of the gauge while most traders in the region are in bed.