Evolving Markets

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

Net zero carbon: Is it all just hot air?

"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing", quipped Oscar Wilde.

Japan Equity Monthly - April 2021

We gauge Japan’s slow vaccine rollout from an economic perspective and assess the shift in work styles that occurred during the pandemic and its potential impact on real estate prices.

Core markets fixed income quarterly

The striking 52% year-on-year surge in prices of second-hand US vehicles has, as expected, caught market attention, with global chip shortages often blamed for the disruption in the market for used cars. Behind the scenes, however, stands Joe Biden, the US incumbent president, whose first 100 days in the office was marked by several milestones, some of which could quite convincingly add more “meat” to the story.

Emerging market fixed income quarterly

Emerging Markets (EM) debt began 2021 by consolidating after an exceptional performance at the end of 2020. The negative performance was mostly driven by a widening of US Treasury yields while spreads remained broadly unchanged.

Global credit quarterly

The global credit market saw a positive start into the year in Q12021 as spreads continued to tighten. However, total returns were negatively impacted by the global move toward higher rates. At the beginning of 2021, cyclical sectors came back to the forefront and outperformed. Energy and automotive sectors were among the winners, while utilities lagged the rally.

Time to revisit China sovereigns and policy bank bonds

Following a tumultuous 2020 marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, global growth in 2021 is expected to improve on the back of positive vaccine developments and continued government measures. However, the pace of recovery is likely to be uneven among economies and fears of a resurgence of COVID-19 linger. It would be presumptuous to say that we are finally out of the woods.

Japan Equity Monthly - March 2021

We provide our view on the Bank of Japan’s latest policy review, under which the central bank decided to allow long-term rates to fluctuate in a wider band and removed its annual target for ETF purchases. We also assess the barring of foreign spectators from the Olympic games.

Global Investment Committee Outlook: Continue risk-positive

A large majority of our members agreed on a positive scenario in which the global economy mildly outperforms market consensus, while equities continue to rally.

Japan equities poised for further gains along with a turnaround for value

In February 2021, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average reached JPY 30,000 for the first time in over three decades. We believe that equities will keep rising, and that amid this shift in the broader market Japanese value stocks are on the cusp of a long-awaited turnaround.

Credit spreads explained: The devil is in the details

For corporate bond investors one of the most important points of discussion is spreads. Spreads are the industry term for the risk premium an investor aims to earn in the corporate bond market. It is the difference between the yield a bond is promising and the risk-free rate. If spreads are narrowing it is positive for investors as the price of the corporate bond will increase; likewise, a widening leads to a lower bond price.

Japan Equity Monthly - February 2021

We assess the factors that enabled the Nikkei to rise above the 30,000 threshold for the first time since 1990; we also view the recent Robinhood frenzy from a Japanese market perspective.

Future Quality Insights - March 2021

The introduction of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation in March 2021 will see significant changes to the way asset management is conducted. It includes new disclosure requirements for investment firms to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns and we welcome it with open arms.

Meditation for investment professionals

The investment industry is constantly searching for ways to improve its decision-making processes. Some firms increase their research teams while others move into quantitative fields such as machine learning. Amid this constant search, we focus on an alternative way to enhance the quality of our decisions; mindfulness can make the difference between a rushed, emotional decision and a thoughtful, rational conclusion.

Ample upside room for slow recovering J-REITs

In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected a wide variety of Japanese assets, including the real estate investment trust (J-REIT) market. J-REITs have bounced back since, but their recovery has been sluggish compared to the Japanese equity market’s rebound. Despite the slower recovery, we believe J-REITs have ample upside room once the rise gathers pace.

Japan Equity Monthly - January 2021

We discuss Japan’s robust manufacturing sector and why it is not about reclaiming the past; we also take a look at the BOJ’s ETF purchases amid the current rally by equities.

Japan Equity Monthly - December 2020

We look into the potential economic impact of Japan’s attempt to become carbon neutral. We also analyse why Japan’s fiscal condition draws little attention although the country is on course to spend a record amount in its upcoming budget.

Global Strategy Thoughts for 2021

US capitalism was built on large societal divisions, but sometimes such becomes intolerable and the majority of the population revolts. In this case, the virus accentuated the income divide and engendered even greater angst. However, during the past four years, the majority fought back in different ways and ended up fighting each other, while the wealthy prospered more than ever, with high-skill workers reaping gains while lower-skill workers struggled and were often displaced, especially after the virus.

2021 Global Credit Outlook

The last 12 months have seen a significant rotation of topics discussed at investment meetings worldwide. The agenda has moved from macroeconomic data to infection rates, hospitalization rates, vaccinations and other issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Investing for the Long Term: 'Future Quality' Companies

The Nikko Asset Management Global Equity team philosophy is based on the belief that investing in ‘Future Quality’ companies will lead to outperformance over the long term. This paper draws on academic evidence to outline the three fundamental concepts which underpin our definition of ‘Future Quality’ investments.

ESG in the investment process

Wealthy individuals across generations are interested in investing for environmental or social impact, but Millennials are by far the most active in evaluating and indeed, demanding these strategies.

Future Quality Insights - December 2020

Another quarter goes by and we are still (in the United Kingdom anyway) limited in our ability to travel and congregate in offices. In my spare time, I often end up searching vainly for fresh and interesting new content, only to revert to watching stalwarts such as the Bourne film series.

Japan Equity Monthly - November 2020

The Japanese equity market has posted impressive gains as 2020 draws to a close, with the Nikkei Stock Average reaching a near three-decade high, and we assess the rise from a long-term perspective. We also analyse how Japanese equities have managed to defy a stronger yen.

Efficiency of Japanese corporate investment in human capital and shareholder value

Japan struggles with an aging and shrinking population and it is important for the country, both from an economic and social perspective, to improve its relatively low labour productivity by efficiently utilising its human resources.

Japan IP beats the US in October

For October, on a seasonally adjusted YoY basis, Japan’s October YoY Industrial Production (IP) result was better than both US Manufacturing IP and US Total IP. It likely surpassed Europe’s too.

US presidential election – Nikko AM’s views

In order to gain a range of perspectives on the US presidential election, Nikko Asset Management has gathered the views of the following experts and investment teams, representing many of our major asset classes and geographical regions.

Global credit quarterly

The strategy’s performance continued to recover during the last quarter. The strategy’s relative and absolute performances are now positive. Strong results in the banking sector, in particular the lower part of the capital structure (i.e. T2 and AT1 bonds) were a strong driver of the rebound.

Trump vs Biden: Can the best man win?

We suspect that many investors have become accustomed to a seemingly synchronized world with relatively little currency volatility – in a sense over recent years we seem almost to have been back in the 1960s, a period during which moves in exchange rates were quite rare and there was essentially a single synchronized global economic cycle.

ESG Insight: Biden’s most critical investment

At the time of writing, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden leads the polls by 10 percentage points and will likely be elected President of The United States on 3 November 2020. The potential for a Democrat “Blue Wave” with control of both houses easing the passage of legislation also seems possible.

Emerging market fixed income quarterly

The third quarter of 2020 corresponded to a continued recovery of all emerging markets (EM) debt segments, albeit at a slower pace compared to the second quarter. The market’s positive momentum faded in July and August and a mild consolidation phase even occurred in September.

China’s bond market: a space to watch

As China’s fixed income market continues to grow in depth and size, it has helped create interesting trends that are worth following. While some of these trends are not new, we do see finer developments within that could pique investor interest in realising additional alpha.

Bad Ideas Report

Today, we believe the global economy is undergoing the largest technological transformation in history. Disruptive innovation should displace industry incumbents, increase efficiencies, and gain majority market share. As technologies emerge and transform entire industries, investors in traditional benchmarks may face more risk than historically has been the case.

Positioning for reflation

Coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus is likely to support global demand and therefore reflation in the years ahead. We see this opening up broader growth opportunities, and ultimately better scope for portfolio diversification.

Adapting to the “new normal”: Japan’s paradox

With the global outbreak of COVID-19 in the first half of 2020, the world was turned upside down. Under such circumstances, Japanese companies are now faced with new challenges to adapt to this “new normal”.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - September 2020

US Treasury (UST) yields traded in a narrow range during the month. Factors such as the second wave of COVID-19 infections in Europe, lingering volatility in US equities and continued lack of consensus on further fiscal support weighed on market sentiment.

Multi-asset monthly - October 2020

October 2020 Second and third waves of the virus will also slow the recovery. But importantly, mortality rates have been lower, suggesting that the world continues to learn to live with the virus without requiring broad lockdowns.

The new age of credit research

We believe our active approach to credit investing allows us to better serve clients, as indiscriminate waves of downgrades following the turbulence that has rattled global financial markets this year presents us with compelling opportunities.

Asian equity monthly – September 2020

After three consecutive months of strong gains, Asian stocks finally succumbed to profit taking in September triggered by concerns that the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could be running out of steam.

Australian Fixed Income Monthly – September 2020

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned 1.08% over the month.

Australian equity monthly - September 2020

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned -3.7% during the month. Australian equities lagged most developed markets during the month, as most markets took a breather in September.

Maintaining Prosperity During Turmoil

Although the coronavirus outbreak has caused major disruptions and geopolitical risk is on the rise, markets are looking forward to recovery. In what appears to be a rapidly changing world, many things remain the same and indeed, may be changing for the better.

Internet healthcare - a reset of healthcare delivery in Asia

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of internet-based healthcare services. Growing in importance, penetration and acceptance, telemedicine will revolutionise and augment Asia’s healthcare systems.

Japan Equity Monthly - September 2020

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s new prime minister, is widely expected to retain his predecessor’s fiscal and monetary policies known as “Abenomics”.

Global Investment Committee Outlook: A new regime ahead

Clearly, it remains difficult to predict events in this volatile environment, but in the interest of our clients, we do our best and fortunately this time, we had virtually unanimous agreement on a similar scenario as in June, both politically and economically.

Future Quality Insights - August 2020

While everyone’s individual experience of this global pandemic has been different, there are many shared experiences that we hope readers will be familiar with. In short, the adaptations we have made as a society have changed the way we live and work. Might these new behaviours give a clue as to what industries and companies will prosper in the years ahead? Well, yes and (likely) no, but at least the task of observing our recent past may help us make sense of the present while giving us a clue about what might be round the corner.

Global Equity Quarterly Q2 2020

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.

Global Equity Quarterly Q1 2020

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 investments.