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Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

Global Investment Committee Outlook 2019: Tempered Positive View

So many developments have occurred since we last met in September, but the major ones were the surprising collapse in oil prices mostly due to geopolitical factors, the U.S.-China trade and BREXIT conflicts becoming increasingly intractable, and that aspects of the global economy showed occasional signs of moderation.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - December 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index gained 5.3% in USD terms in November, despite persistent concerns over global growth and a slide in technology stocks.

From the Australian Equities Desk - November 18

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned -2.2% during November.

From the Australian Fixed Income Desk - November 18

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was up 0.24% over the month, outperforming Australian equities which fell over 2%.

Australian Housing - Don't Panic

Over the past year Australian house prices have seen 12 consecutive months of decline, the longest streak of persistent falls in over 20 years.

Stop making sense: the state of volatility in markets

Volatility is back in a big way in 2018. A large increase in the VIX is showing an annual level not witnessed since 2007. The sell-off that started in October appears to have been triggered by a number of negative technical forces in the USA coming into effect at the same time, which impacted global markets.

US Recession Risk and the Path for Interest Rates

The US economy is enjoying its second-longest growth cycle in history and is on the way to becoming the longest on record.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - November 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 10.85% in USD terms, on the back of concerns about rising interest rates, slower economic growth, and persistent US-China trade tensions. Large technology stocks were particularly hard hit.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - November 2018

US Treasury (UST) yields spiked at the start of October as the market responded to stronger US data and Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Jerome Powell's hawkish comments.

Asia's Current Account: Good or Bad?

On the back of unrelenting USD strength, 2018 has been a tumultuous period for Asian currencies. Countries in the region with current account deficits have been facing more currency pressure, prompting their central banks to engage in series of rate hikes to defend their currencies.

Trump Will Hate These Buybacks

Clearly, the U.S. Administration has tried to protect the steel and other industries considered important for defense and economic security. The intent is to have them invest in new capacity due to the recently higher product prices.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

From the Australian Equities Desk - October 18

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned -6.1% during the month.

From the Australian Fixed Income Desk - October 18

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was up 0.48% over the month, outperforming Australian equities which tumbled over 6%.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - October 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 1.38% in USD terms in September. The Sino-US trade conflict and rising oil prices were key drags on performance. During the month, the US Federal Reserve raised rates for the third time this year as widely anticipated, amid positive economic data.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - October 2018

In September, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25 basis points (bps). The monetary authority removed the clause that policy rates are "accommodative", and modestly raised its growth forecasts for this year and next.

From the Australian Equities Desk - September 18

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned -1.8% during the month.

From the Australian Fixed Income Desk - September 18

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was down 0.42% over the month.

From the Australian Fixed Income Desks - August 18

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was up 0.81% over the month. The yield curve flattened as the spread between long-term and short-term bond yields narrowed.

From the Australian Equities desk - August 18

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index rose 1.4% during the month.

A Numbers Game: The Changing Face of Demographics

In 2011 a dramatic shift occurred throughout the developed world — working age populations began a multi-decade decline. Demographic shifts like this in an economy can have profound effects, including changes in growth and debt metrics.

August 2018 Australian Reporting Season: The Good, The Bad, and The Oddly

Confession season was eerily quiet leading into reporting season, unlike the noise from the Royal Commission and the incredible events out of Canberra, where another Prime Minister didn’t reach their full term.

The Nikko AM Australia Approach to Value Investing

Nikko AM Australia values companies based on their sustainable earnings capacity. That is, we determine the intrinsic value by capitalising the sustainable or mid-cycle earnings of every stock under coverage.

Trump Is Going To Hate This Trade Data

It was just reported that China’s exports to the U.S. accelerated 8% year-over-year in July while U.S. exports to China decelerated to 3% year-over-year.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Japan's 'Show Me The Money' Corporate Governance: Renewed Surge

After improving in the spring, the US trade imbalance is worsening again, especially vis a vis the Eurozone and China, with significant repercussions for international monetary and economic relations.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Global Credit Strategy: Midyear Review

We entered the year optimistic, and with the knowledge of the last six months, we are pleased that most of our expectations worked out.

Value vs. Growth and the Divergence to the Extreme

All major value equity indices show that the last five years, and in particular the last 12 months, have been a challenge for value as a style.

Too Much Pessimism About China-US Talks

Nearly every expert seems to be pessimistic about any progress being made during the US-China talks this week, citing the “low level delegations” attending, but there are many signs from both sides of an incipient deal, not to mention the obvious economic and political incentives to achieve such.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - August 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index edged higher in July as losses in China and Korea were offset by gains in India, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia.

For Jackson Hole: Using MBS, The Fed Can Slow The Economy With Fewer Rate Hikes

The Fed, led by Chairman Powell, will very likely resist any effort by the White House to pressure it into halting rate hikes.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - August 2018

In July, US Treasury (UST) yields rose. US-China trade tensions continued to persist. The risk of a trade war between the US and Europe tempered after the two countries announced they will cut trade barriers.

Recent moves by the Chinese government to further liberalize its fund management industry have generated a lot of interest with some observers projecting that China will overtake the UK to be the second-largest asset management market.

Australian Equity Monthly Outlook - August 2018

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index rose 1.4% during the month. The Australian equities market underperformed global equity markets in July led by a fall in resources. Developed markets outperformed emerging markets for the fourth consecutive month.

Australian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - August 2018

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) was up 0.16% over the month. The yield curve flattened as the spread between long-term and short-term bond yields narrowed. 3-year government bond yields ended the month up 3 basis points (bps) while 10-year government bond yields also rose, up 2 bps to 2.65%.

Uncovering Value in Japanese Equities

Global equity markets rallied throughout 2017 without any major setbacks. With volatility at extreme lows, it could be said that 2017 was an unusually fortunate year for market participants in terms of risk and reward.

Erdogan Takes It All

In the past few years, Turkey has faced some of the most monumental challenges in its recent history.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - July 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 4.8% in USD terms amid persistent concerns about trade tensions between China and the US.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - July 2018

In June, the US Treasury (UST) curve flattened. The US Federal Reserve (Fed)'s 25 basis points (bps) rate hike was accompanied by a more hawkish tone, supporting higher short-term rates.

Forbes: U.S. Trade Deals Could Likely Happen Soon

It may seem an optimistic view, but conditions seem to be shaping up for some major trade compromises relatively soon.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

LatAm Elections: The Lure of the Left

Our London-based Emerging Market fixed income portfolio manager provides an update for Latin American markets in the midst of a hectic election schedule. Despite the risks, pro-market reforms should still progress to varying degrees across the region.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - June 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index closed -1.3% in USD terms as markets turned more risk averse amidst macro uncertainties, trade tensions and higher oil prices.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - June 2018

In May, US Treasury (UST) yields ended lower. A solid US jobs report supported the bearish bias in UST yields that prevailed.

Happy Birthday ECB

The ECB recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary and instead of a birthday cake, DB research released a compelling chart about how different asset classes have performed over this time period.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - May 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index gained 0.7% in USD terms. Trade jitters receded following China’s commitment at the Bo’ao Forum to further open up the economy to foreign businesses.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - May 2018

US Treasuries (USTs) experienced a sharp sell-off in April as yields rose about 10 to 24 basis points (bps) across the curve. Trade war fears between US and China receded, with Chinese President Xi Jinping's commitment to further open up the economy to foreign businesses.

China Brands Muscle MNCs Out of Home Turf

Chinese companies are now a force to be reckoned with on their home turf – a market which used to be dominated by foreign brands. This report looks at how the change has come about and where Chinese brands are headed.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - April 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index declined 1.5% in USD terms, amid significant volatility across global markets. Concerns about a global trade war and a sell-off in the US tech sector weighed heavily on sentiment.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - April 2018

US Treasuries (USTs) traded in relatively tight range in March, with the yield curve bull flattening. The US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interate rates by 25 basis points (bps), and signalled it could lift rates at a marginally more aggressive pace in coming years.

How ASEAN's 3Rs Can Overcome Trade Wars

Our portfolio manager in Singapore explains why ASEAN might well benefit from the current US-China trade tensions and how the region’s three main strengths should keep economic growth strong.

Global Ramifications of the Eurozone’s Huge Trade Surplus

Many economists and currency analysts, after years of ignoring such “old fashioned” indicators, are now talking about the massive trade surplus that the Eurozone enjoys with the world, but in particular with the US.

Forbes: Revisions Show U.S. Industrial Mini-Recession In 2015

Actually, it has not been one long expansion since 2009, as we now can see how the slumping oil price caused a mini-recession a few years back.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

LatAm Elections: The Lure of the Left

Our London-based Emerging Market fixed income analyst predicts increased volatility ahead for Latin American markets due to the threat of Leftist election victories this year, but that pro-market reforms will still progress.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - March 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index declined 5.0% in USD terms, as better US economic data prompted worries about inflation and expectations of faster interest rate rises from the Federal Reserve.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - March 2018

In February, US Treasuries (USTs) succumbed to a further sell-off, with yields rising across the curve prompted by better US economic data.

Italian Elections: More of the Same Political Dysfunction

Poor economic and fiscal policies are, and will likely be, a recurring theme in Italian politics. However, from a trade perspective, we see Italy to remain a good carry/spread trade for at least the next twelve months against a backdrop of improving GDP growth in 2018 and 2019.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - February 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 7.6% in USD terms in January, amid optimism about solid economic growth and corporate earnings. Asian currencies generally strengthened against the USD.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - February 2018

There was a sharp rise in US Treasury (UST) yields in January on the back of positive macro news, steady rise in oil prices and speculation that central banks in developed markets will start winding back on stimulus measures.

Forbes: 2% U.S. Core Inflation In Sight

Today's very high Core CPI result is one more indication that inflation is rising.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Australian Household Debt — The Economic Cost of High House Prices

Over the past 15 years Australian house prices have been on an incredible run, resulting in Australian households becoming some of the most indebted in the world. So what is the economic cost of Australia’s sky high property prices and what could it mean for property prices in 2018?

Forbes: The New Fed And Why The MBS Market Will Likely Suffer

Both Fed candidates support tapering MBS holdings faster than the current plan. This would likely raise mortgage rates and tame US housing prices, which are likely rising too fast for comfort.

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

MSCI Inclusion of Domestic ‘A’ Shares is China's Grand Entrance onto World Stage

Imagine a day when "Asia ex-China" portfolios are the norm. We think this is not too far-fetched an idea.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - January 2018

As widely expected, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised interest rates by 25bps in December, its third rate hike this year. It also raised its GDP forecast for 2018.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - January 2018

The MSCI AC ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 2.7% in USD terms in December, outperforming the MSCI AC World index which returned 1.4%.

2018 Emerging Markets Outlook

Our Senior Portfolio Manager for Emerging Markets in London forecasts that in 2018, this asset class could well match 2017’s achievement.

Asian Credit Outlook 2018

We expect the economic backdrop for Asian credits to remain constructive in 2018, but remain cognizant of several risks including rising interest rates, robust supply, unexpected weakness in China, geopolitical developments and cross-asset volatility.

2018 Asian Rates and FX Outlook

The global recovery is expected to continue, albeit at a more moderate pace. Meanwhile, we foresee policy normalisation and an acceleration of inflation in Asia.

What lies ahead in 2018 – Thoughts of a Kiwi bond manager

Low global inflation and, until recently, a strong Kiwi dollar have kept New Zealand’s inflation rate low over many years, however things may be about to change.

From the Asian Equity Desk - Market Outlook 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 38.0% in USD terms year-to-date, on the back of a broad-based economic recovery. The Index outperformed the MSCI World Index, which rose 20.8% in USD terms in the same period.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - December 2017

US Treasury (UST) yields declined during the month. The nomination of Jerome Powell as the next US Federal Reserve (Fed) chairman overshadowed stronger US economic data, but was subsequently offset by increased geopolitical risks in the Middle East and a setback to US tax reform.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - December 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 0.6% in USD terms in November. The index approached ten-year highs during the month on expectations of continuity in US Federal Reserve policy and robust economic data, but gains were pared at month-end by a sell-off in technology heavyweights.

South Africa at a Crossroads

The imminent party election will be crucial in determining this major Emerging Market’s future.

Shale to the Chief: Can US Shale Oil Keep Up the Growth?

Having recently returned from the US, Stefan Hansen, Senior Research Analyst at Nikko AM Australia, shares his thoughts on US shale oil production and the potential impact on the oil price.

Canada and Australia are not the same

From an economic perspective Canada and Australia share some common features, but we would caution that the performance of the two economies is substantially different than generalisations would suggest.

In 2018, our key focus is to produce and maintain alpha in stock selection. Looking back, the year of 2017 has indeed been a year of strong expansion in terms of equity performance and this has brought much cheer to investors.

Uncertainty in Germany – What are the options?

Even as the situation in Germany to form a new government is difficult, financial markets have reacted very mildly to the uncertainties.

May's Position in Question?

We think it is unlikely that May will be replaced within her own party. This is because there is a lack of an heir-apparent, and the Conservative Party would be extremely reluctant to even slightly increase the risk of another election.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - November 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index returned 4.7% in USD terms in October, outperforming the MSCI World Index which returned 1.9%.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - November 2017

US Treasuries (USTs) fell in October, as prospects of higher growth and inflation increased after the US Senate approved the Republican-backed budget for 2018.

Forbes: Powell & Some Fed Board Nightmare Scenarios

“Hopefully for the markets, the Fed transition will be smooth, but it might not be and hawkish Presidents may have much greater influence.”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

New Zealand's New Centre-Left Government Makes for Uncertain Times

Just as politics in other developed countries have recently taken on a more populist and/or anti-capitalist tone, so too has New Zealand’s.

A Pickup in the Chinese Economy – What to watch

To help bridge the gap between the perceived unreliability of Chinese statistics and the importance of analysing the world’s second largest economy, we look for measures which have less potential to be manipulated.

Asia High Grade Credit – A better European approach to Emerging Market Debt

A separate allocation to Asia IG offers European investors a way to mitigate risk within their EMD exposure.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - October 2017

US Treasuries declined in September, prompted by the possibility of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve in December and Trump's tax reform bill being passed by Congress.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - October 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 0.1% in US dollar (USD) terms, underperforming the MSCI AC World Index which returned 2.2%. Profit-taking and currency weakness relative to the USD pressured returns in September.

The Rise of Chinese FDI into ASEAN

Our senior fixed income portfolio manager in Singapore explains why he is bullish on ASEAN currencies for the long-term.

Germany's Election Results – What now?

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the time it will take before the formation of a new government, we do not think there is risk of major policy change in Germany. The election outcome, however, will likely weigh on the aspirations of France’s Macron for deeper Eurozone integration.

Developed Asia-Pacific: Growth Dynamics in Asia-Pacific – Crucial Differences in the Region

Given the shifting dynamics in the region, for investors interested in Asian equities, there are multiple options depending upon the level of risk they are willing to assume. This paper looks at the outlook for several countries in Asia-Pacific.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - September 2017

The US Treasury (UST) market grinded higher in August. Rising tensions in the Korean peninsula and a lack of direction from the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank on the outlook for monetary policy put pressure on US Treasury yields.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - September 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index rose by 1.3% in US dollar (USD) terms, outperforming the MSCI AC World Index and bringing year-to-date returns to 31.1%. This was the eighth straight month of positive returns.

“Although Mester and Yellen do not align closely with Trump’s values, they are at least professional central bankers and can likely be relied upon to drive a non-political, non-confrontational but most importantly a safe course for monetary policy and bank regulation.”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance

The release of the second quarter data on aggregate Japanese corporate profits confirms my twelve-year theme about improving corporate governance in Japan and how investors should not worry about the slow domestic economy.

Germany's Election Should Be Supportive

Our London-based Global Credit Portfolio Manager lays out the scenarios of the upcoming German election and its ramifications for select German credits.

Reforming India

Our equity portfolio manager who specializes in India concludes that reforms should have a very positive effect on that country’s growth.

China: the great disruptor of our time

As China’s economic development enters a more sophisticated and mature phase, it is beginning to challenge many of the status quos that have been taken for granted since the middle of the 20th century.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - August 2017

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index rose by 5.3% in US dollar (USD) terms, outperforming the MSCI AC World Index and bringing year-to-date returns to 29.4%.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - August 2017

US Treasury (UST) yields ended largely unchanged in July following soft US inflation print, dovish comments from the Federal Reserve and expectations of an autumn policy shift from the European Central Bank.

Australian housing – Still waiting for the decline

We identify the fundamentals that have supported Australian housing and the signals that investors should look for to determine if this period of positive appreciation is coming to an end.

Forbes: The Fed's Tabooed Tool

“Wall Street seems to have long had a hands-off warning to the Fed, which seems to have been very effective, but does this really deserve to be continued? Can Wall Street effectively regulate against speculative bubbles?”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com

Emerging Divergence as Unwinding of QE Gathers Pace

What is the prognosis for Emerging Markets as major global central banks begin to tighten policy?

Asia High Grade Credit - A More Selective Approach

The rapid development of the Asia Credit markets provides new opportunities to improve the risk and return profile for investors.

Forbes: Bank Bailouts And Italian GDP Changed Draghi's View?

“ECB rhetoric might waver back and forth, but unless there is a global downturn or a major political revolution in Italy, its monetary policy will become less accommodative...”

John Vail, Chief Global Strategist for Nikko Asset Management, contributes a regular column to Forbes.com