Due to the developments described in this article, there is ample room for growth at Japanese firms and much opportunity for investment success.
In sum, there certainly are some worrisome issues, as always, but we find none of them convincing enough to prevent moderate increases in equity prices.
Coupled with our expectation for global bond yields to rise moderately, we maintain our overweight view on global equities vs. bonds.
The recovery in profits by Japanese export firms should continue to attract the attention of the markets in the first half of 2015.
The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan gained 3.71% but underperformed the MSCI World which gained 6.43% in SGD terms. The MSCI World’s strong performance was attributable to the supportive external backdrop with improving economic indicators out of Europe.
Through 2014, one of the largest asset classes in the world was virtually unnoticed as an indicator that Europe is not pushing the global economy into widespread deflation.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets outperformed its global peers, registering a return of 3.8% in SGD terms as compared to the MSCI World index which gained only 0.4% in SGD terms, primarily due to the stronger Greater China region and Indian markets which were the best performing markets in January.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets did better than other emerging markets, posting a negative return of 2.1% in USD terms as compared to the latter which returned -4.6% in USD terms as it was dragged down by Russia.
Clearly, oil prices have fallen further than nearly everyone anticipated. When our Global Investment Committee met in December, Brent was trading at $66.
Supply-side shocks and market distortions have created a degree of uncertainty over the short to medium-term outlook for the New Zealand dairy industry.
The investment world is changing quickly and 2015 should prove to be a very interesting year, but we see no reason to change our long-held positive view on global equities.
China's economy likely slowed much more than the official statistics show; otherwise, the government would not have reversed course on its various crackdowns, especially on the property market.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets were volatile in November, with the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index down 1.3%, dragged down by MSCI Australia Index which returned -6.3% in USD terms.
Asia is evolving rapidly, which has implications for investors globally. It should no longer be viewed as just a cheap manufacturing hub, but a region with high value-added industries catering to an increasingly wealthy middle class.
Many empirical studies have shown that a value style approach to investing in Australian shares has consistently outperformed growth investing - and with less risk.
Asia ex-Japan markets bounced back towards the end of October returning 2% for the month in USD terms and outperforming the MSCI World index by 1.4%.
Is political democracy good for economic growth and ultimately, stock markets in Asia? Indisputably, sound political systems are crucial for economic development and progress.
Asia Pacific markets succumbed to profit-taking after registering seven consecutive months of positive USD based returns. The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index was down 7.2% for the month in USD terms as the strengthening dollar magnified the loss.
A confluence of factors worked against the Australian market during the month. Regulatory concerns in the banking sector, lower commodity prices and a weaker Australian dollar were the key drivers of the market’s underperformance.
Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets gave back some of the year-to-date (YTD) outperformance versus its global peers. The MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan index returned 0.8% in the month of August, underperforming the MSCI World by 1.4%.