Investment Insights

 

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance: 3Q Record High

The just released 3Q CY21 data on aggregate corporate profits in Japan was very positive, as although for the single quarter, the overall corporate recurring pre-tax profit margin declined from the 2Q, as it does routinely for this non-seasonally adjusted data.

Future Quality Insights - December 2021 - A trip to Lisbon

Just a few weeks ago I attended my first in-person conference since 2019. Over 40,000 people descended upon Lisbon for Web Summit, one of the world’s largest technology conferences. The event brings together CEO’s and founders of established firms together with start-ups and policymakers to discuss and pitch ideas over the course of a week.

Why Japan’s CPI remains low when other economies grapple with inflation

As the global economy takes steps to recover from the pandemic, prices have steadily risen around the world. Japan, however, remains an exception among the major economies. The country’s headline CPI did tick up in October, but at a very modest pace, showing that inflation is yet to gain strong traction in a country long stuck in deflation.

China: Regulate in order to innovate

Every few years, concerns emerge over whether China is investable. We are currently witnessing the latest round of this cycle amid China’s drive to regulate. However, investing in China during such moments of doubt has reaped substantial returns in the past. The key is not missing the forest for the trees when China is regulating in order to innovate.

Asian stocks rose in October, with investors remaining focused on rising inflationary pressures and the US Federal Reserve’s tapering plans. The markets’ key concern is China’s economic performance and its impact on the energy and commodity complexes.

Has economic data really changed so much as to suggest an inflection point on inflation and the growth outlook was near? To some degree perhaps, at least in the eyes of the market, but not enough in the end for central banks to meaningfully change their guidance.

We expect Indonesian bonds to outperform, as demand is supported by positive supply technicals. Meanwhile, we see bonds of low-yielding countries like Singapore, South Korea and Thailand prone to bear flattening, driven mainly by UST movement.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly - October 2021

October was a tough month for the New Zealand bond market with yields rising in anticipation of further increases in cash rates and in response to global markets bracing for the possibility of central banks reducing stimulus by tapering bond purchases.

Global Fixed Income Quarterly - Q4 2021 Outlook

The optimist says prices are cheap. The pessimist says prices are expensive. The central banker says inflation is transitory. We remain in the aftermath of a month where the worldview on the future of monetary policy has dramatically changed.

New Zealand Equity Monthly – October 2021

The New Zealand stock market has been flat in the calendar year to date, with companies working to adapt to a number of risk factors. This puts it in stark contrast with markets in the rest of the developed world, which have seen gains ranging from 10% to 25%.

Japan Value Insights: Medical technology key to value and addressing inefficiencies

Japan’s rapidly advancing medical technology is viewed as a way to address the healthcare sector’s inefficiencies while at the same time offering potential value opportunities.

Japan Equity Monthly – October 2021

We explain how the recent lower house election win gives Japan’s new prime minister a free hand to pursue policies aimed to help the economy recover from COVID-19. We also analyse why a weaker yen no longer provides as much of a boost to equities.

Global Equity Quarterly Q3 2021

Our philosophy is centred on the search for “Future Quality” in a company. Future Quality companies are those that we believe will attain and sustain high returns on investment. ESG considerations are integral to Future Quality investing as good companies make for good investment

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - September 2021

US Treasury (UST) yields rose in September, with the US Federal Open Market Committee finally alluding to moderate its asset purchases as soon as November. The rise in rates was further supported by an escalating power crunch across Europe and China amid surging energy prices prompting concerns about inflation.

Multi-asset Monthly - October 2021

Volatility has arisen as we expected it eventually would, and September is often an apt month to rediscover risk given market participants’ return from summer vacations noting that record high equity markets do not quite square with a number of significant risk events on the near-term horizon.

Asian Equity Monthly - September 2021

Asian stocks fell in September, with concerns about China’s growth outlook and the US Federal Reserve (Fed)’s taper plan being the key drivers of sentiment. For the month, the MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index declined by 4.2% in US dollar (USD) terms.

New Zealand Equity Monthly – September 2021

The equity market reaction to New Zealand’s second COVID-19 lockdown has been far more muted than the first time similar restrictions were imposed. The first lockdown from March 2020 caused an aggressive sell-off as investors and companies alike adjusted to a completely unprecedented situation.

Japan Equity Monthly - September 2021

We provide an update of Japan’s political calendar as the new Prime Minister Kishida leads the ruling party into a 31 October general election, which could have a significant market impact. We also discuss what the recent China-related volatility could mean for the Japanese market.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly - September 2021

Since the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) postponed a widely expected rate hike in August, pricing in the market has pulled back, supporting a view that the central bank will hike rates by 25 basis points (bps) at each of its next three policy meetings.

What can investors expect from a Kishida government?

As expected by most observers, Mr. Kishida won the Liberal Democratic Party presidential election in the second round with a sturdy, though not overwhelming, 60% of the vote. He will be formally named prime minister next week and will likely form a relatively youthful cabinet, with females in several major posts.

Out of the six scenarios presented, a narrow majority of our committee agreed again on a positive scenario in which the global economy matches the market consensus for solid growth, while equities continue to rally.

Funding high-impact climate action with green bonds

The past five years have been the hottest since records began. In the decade to 2020, global surface temperatures were 1.09C higher compared to the pre-industrial era (1850–1900)1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that stabilising global warming below the 1.5C level is critical to avoiding the most extreme impacts on ecosystems and human health.

Latin America: Supplier to a commodity-hungry world

Inflation is on everyone’s mind. From central bankers to bakers, it is one of the biggest topics of discussion. The prices of many commodities are rising sharply. The reasons vary. Supply constraints, sharp rise in demand or bad weather—take your pick.

Multi-asset Monthly - September 2021

As we contemplate a post-pandemic world, it is becoming more likely that things will not return to “normal” as we once knew it. While vaccines have been highly successful in preventing serious illness in those who are still contracting the virus, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is also proving to be harder to contain.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - August 2021

US Treasury (UST) yields rose in August, prompted by data showing stronger-than-expected US employment growth. The rise in rates was supported by hawkish comments from some US Federal Reserve (Fed) officials.

Staying adaptive to an evolving recovery

The world is settling into a new normal that is likely to look quite different from pre-COVID-19 norms. This includes different patterns of demand shaped by learning to live with the virus and an ongoing fiscal thrust with firm policy objectives.

New Zealand Equity Monthly – August 2021

With the reporting season in full swing, this month we turn our attention to New Zealand’s corporate results and announcements. In particular we focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on such results and highlight how changing demographics have provided opportunities for certain sectors.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly - August 2021

The detection of New Zealand’s first COVID-19 Delta variant infections and the subsequent decision by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) to postpone a widely expected rate hike muddied the country’s outlook in August. The economy was previously running at a strong pace with unusually high inflation of 3.5% and very low unemployment.

Asian Equity Monthly - August 2021

Asian stocks gained in August. While concerns about the spread of the Delta variant weighed on markets at the beginning of the month, the US Federal Reserve (Fed)’s dovish commentary and a rebound in the battered Chinese technology (tech) sector lifted sentiment towards the month-end

Japan Equity Monthly - August 2021

The news of Prime Minister Suga’s impending resignation triggered a rally in Japanese equities this week, with the market hoping that a new administration will bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control and hasten the normalisation of the economy. We explain what the market expects from the new administration and assess the implications of Japan’s upcoming general election.

Japan Value Insights

Japan’s drive to embrace hydrogen as an alternative energy source is an opportunity to identify hidden value in firms that are willing to tackle and resolve social issues.

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance: 2Q Positive Profit Surprise

The just released 2Q CY21 data on aggregate corporate profits in Japan was surprisingly positive, as the overall corporate recurring pre-tax profit margin surged relatively near its record high in the 3Q CY18.

Japan’s structural reform to benefit investors

The three Japan-related news topics that have overwhelmingly dominated the attention of Western media so far this year are COVID-19 (by far), the Tokyo Olympics and the showdown at Toshiba.

Future Quality Insights - August 2021

The Tokyo summer Olympics have been a welcome distraction over the last few weeks and well done to Japan for hosting the games so successfully in the current environment. In particular it is inspiring to see the years of preparation and planning being showcased by the top competitors in their respective sports.

Asian Equity Monthly - July 2021

Asian stocks suffered losses in July, weighed down by the selloff in Chinese equities following Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the private tutoring and technology-related sectors.

Multi-asset Monthly - August 2021

Cross-asset pricing has recently been challenging our reflationary outlook. When we first discussed the prospects for reflation about a year ago, we identified a number of key factors.

New Zealand Equity Monthly - July 2021

This month we turn our focus to environment, social and governance (ESG) issues. ESG is firmly in the spotlight at present, and this trend will only intensify in the future. In global terms, Europe’s level of ESG legislation is more advanced than New Zealand’s and ESG is more of a hot topic there.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly - July 2021

New Zealand’s bond market performed well overall in July, although the long term sector outperformed its short term peers significantly.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - July 2021

The US Treasury (UST) curve bull flattened in July. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting was largely uneventful, although the forward guidance on asset purchases was tweaked slightly to indicate that progress had been made towards the Committee’s goals although still shy of the “substantial further progress” needed for the start of tapering.

Global Equity Quarterly Q2 2021

Our philosophy is centred on the search for “Future Quality” in a company. Future Quality companies are those that we believe will attain and sustain high returns on investment. ESG considerations are integral to Future Quality investing as good companies make for good investment

Japan Equity Monthly - July 2021

We talk about the importance of staying focused on the broader implications of Japan’s corporate governance reforms when misconduct at major companies make the headlines; we also discuss the prospects for real estate and whether the market presents a bargain.

Further improving Japan’s equity culture and wealth

Japan’s economy should boom after the Olympics burden passes. Its stock market will likely rebound sharply too, but one item that has limited Japan’s equity culture, and thus, its wealth, especially for wary pensioners, is overly conservative guidance by corporations for upcoming fiscal year earnings.

Global Fixed Income Quarterly - Q3 2021 Outlook

As we roll into the August lull, we cannot help but ask the question: Where has the reflation trade gone? Expectations were for a display of heroism by the Federal Reserve (Fed) with Chair Jerome Powell announcing his grand taper plan at the Jackson Hole symposium, but I guess we will still have to wait for the big reveal.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly - June 2021

New Zealand’s bond market was relatively flat in June, although most sectors were on the positive side. Looking ahead, New Zealand appears set to track the US, where interest rate hikes could now happen as early as 2022.

New Zealand Equity Monthly - June 2021

This month, we take a look at the current state and prospects of New Zealand’s five main electricity generators/retail providers. Almost all the electricity in New Zealand is generated by five companies: Genesis Energy, Contact Energy, Meridian Energy, Mercury Energy and Trustpower.

"Thank goodness the Olympics burden is over!"

This is the likely phrase one will often hear in a few weeks, especially among equity investors and Japan’s political leadership. Of course, there are currently very few people in Japan who are very enthusiastic about holding the Olympics and virtually everyone would agree that it is a burden, but only the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can cancel an Olympics.

Asian Equity Monthly - June 2021

Asian stocks edged lower in June, partly weighed down by a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the region. Lingering worries about rising inflation and fears of a faster-than-expected tapering of the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programme also dampened sentiment.

Multi-asset Monthly - July 2021

The US and China are likely reaching peak growth as stimulus and the initial burst of pent-up demand begin to wane. In China, while the credit impulse has turned negative—usually an ominous sign—demand continues to normalise, shifting from outsized demand in manufacturing back to normal patterns of consumption with authorities still fine-tuning the extension of credit to the parts of the real economy that need it.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - June 2021

The US Treasury (UST) yield curve flattened in June, with short-dated bonds underperforming. The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) hawkish pivot caused the UST curve to flatten aggressively mid-month.

Japan Equity Monthly - June 2021

We discuss what global inflation could mean for Japan, with the country having struggled extensively with deflation; we also assess the BOJ‘s plan to boost funding for mitigating climate change and what that could mean in the longer run from a corporate governance perspective.

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