Insights

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

Global Equity Quarterly Report - Q2 2018

Spain is worth paying attention to - it is the second most visited country in the world (in terms of international tourists), behind France, and also generates the second highest tourist receipts globally behind the USA.

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.

Financial markets continue to come to terms with a more protectionist and less globalised world. The surprise perhaps is not that tariffs have finally been imposed by the US on its trading partners, but that it took so long for a key campaign promise to become reality in spite of Republican control of the House, the Senate and the White House since November 2016.

Erdogan Takes It All

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

Will Bloomberg's Index Become the First to Include Chinese Bonds?

In March 2018, Bloomberg announced a conditional decision to include Chinese bonds in its flagship bond index: Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate, starting from April 2019.

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

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - July 2018

Global growth is becoming increasingly less synchronized, with the Eurozone, Japan and UK showing an ongoing moderation in growth, whilst the US remains robust.

It seems that China does not wish to compromise with the U.S., but neither does it wish to retaliate strongly to the $200BB of additional tariffs. Since it does not wish to “lose face” in giving this light response, it is putting a positive spin on its actions by saying it wishes to be the leader of the free trade movement.

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

Japan Equity Monthly - July 2018

The Japanese equity market was mixed in June, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) falling 0.76% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) climbing 0.65%.

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.

Uncertainty surrounding Trump policy has reached new highs with global trade wars back on. Steel and aluminium tariff exemptions have been allowed to lapse for Canada, Mexico and Europe, and USD 50 billion in new technology-focused tariffs against China will be detailed by mid-June and imposed shortly thereafter.

Has China Outgrown the EM Umbrella

Considering the unique profile of the market and how much China influences the global economy, a decision about China could be the most important call an investor can make at this time.

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.

House View: Global Economic Rebound And Equity Reflation

Despite uninspiring global equity performance in the last three months, at least for USD-based investors, Nikko AM’s Global Investment Committee continues to be positive on global equities on a one-year view, particularly those in Japan, Europe and the Asia Pacific, but remain unenthusiastic on global bonds.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - June 2018

Global growth is becoming increasingly less synchronized, with the Eurozone, Japan and UK showing some moderation in growth, whilst the US remains relatively robust.

Japan Equity Monthly - June 2018

The Japanese equity market declined in May, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) dropping 1.67% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) falling 1.18%.

Where Are We With Corporate Governance In Japan?

Japan’s corporate governance reforms have progressed slowly but surely and the recent revision of the code will add momentum for the unwinding of cross-shareholdings.

Forbes: Japan's 'Show Me The Money' Corporate Governance Update

Japanese profit margins continued roughly flat in the 1Q, but at a high plateau due to improved corporate governance over the past years. With global economic growth pushing up the top line, profits should continue to rise significantly in the quarters ahead.

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

China MSCI Inclusion Has Room to Grow

The much anticipated MSCI A Share inclusion happened on 31 May 2018 and will pave the way for further internationalisation of China’s stock markets.

The Case for Private Infrastructure Investing

We believe that long-term oriented institutional investors could find investing into private infrastructure via actively managed funds an attractive investment proposition.

After depreciating for over 18 months, the US dollar has managed to make a comeback, recouping its 5% YTD loss in a matter of weeks. Coupled with 10 year US Treasury (UST) yields hovering around 3%, this has put pressure on Emerging Markets (EM).

Thoughts From the Journey

It has often been the conversations I have had with the people along the way which I have found most helpful when it has come to making investment decisions. This article aims to tell some of their stories and how apparently chance encounters can help generate investment ideas.

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.

Forbes: The Contours Of A China-U.S. Agreement

Recent events have shed some light on a likely China-U.S. agreement fairly soon. Key to such was Trump’s order for ZTE’s sanctions to be lightened so that it can remain in business.

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

Japan Equity Monthly - May 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in April, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 3.55% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 4.73%.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - April 2018

The broad-based synchronized growth story continued to soften through March, as consumers pared back purchases in the face of rising prices.

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.

As much as we would prefer to discuss market fundamentals over the trials and tribulations of the current US Administration, it has been largely unavoidable in this first quarter of 2018.

Beijing conference takeaway: It is clear that while China is set for lower economic growth this year, this decrease represents a welcome central government focus on creating a cleaner, more efficient economy.

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.

Japan Equity Monthly - April 2018

The Japanese equity market fell in March, with both the TOPIX (w/dividends) and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) dropping 2.04% on-month.

Forbes: 2% U.S. Core Inflation Achieved Very Early

In its March meeting, the midpoint of the FOMC’s projection for the Core PCE price index did not hit 2.0% until 2019. However, it seems likely to occur in the upcoming March reading. Meanwhile, today's Core CPI already exceeded 2.0%.

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

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.

Forbes: Trump Is Going To Hate This Trade Data

Not only did the US trade deficit expand in February, it showed particularly disturbing trends regarding the Eurozone and China.

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

China's Move from Factory of the World to Silicon Valley of the East

With its advantages of a vast talent pool, financing and market access, China has most of the ingredients needed to transform into the “Silicon Valley of the East”

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.

Markets continue to come to terms with the return of higher volatility, triggered ostensibly by fears of inflation and the unwinding of highly leveraged short volatility positions at the beginning of last month.

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.

House View: Continued Global Economic and Equity Reflation

Our updated view remains positive on the global economy and equity markets even as global bond yields rise a bit further. Our SPX target remains near 3000 by year end, with impressive gains elsewhere too.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - March 2018

A broad-based synchronized recovery continues to gain traction. Following the strongest year of global growth since 2010 (estimated at 3%) the consensus forecast for the current year looks to be even rosier.

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.

Japan Equity Monthly - March 2018

The Japanese equity market fell in February, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) dropping 3.70% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) tumbling 4.41%.

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance

In my view, Japan is the only major country that is going through a structural improvement in corporate governance, and, thus, deserves special attention by global investors.

In our 2018 outlook, we made the case for rising volatility as central banks across the developed world slowly remove the stimulus punch bowl, but few would have imagined volatility spiking with such a vengeance as it did in recent weeks.

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.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - February 2018

A broad-based synchronized recovery continues to gain traction. Following the strongest year of global growth since 2010 (estimated at 3%) the consensus forecast for the current year looks to be even rosier.

Japan Equity Monthly - February 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in January, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 1.06% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 1.47%.

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

Forbes: The BOJ: Kuroda Again, But What's New?

The Japanese media are widely reporting that Governor Kuroda will be reappointed, which surprises very few people. Whether he wishes to finish his new five-year term is open to question, so the choice of Deputy Governor will likely be important.

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.

Forbes: Why Loretta Mester Should Be Fed Vice Chair

“Even though Mester is often perceived as a hawk, she is quite centrist in the current environment.”

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

2018 Japan Equity Outlook

With the Nikkei Index breaching the 24,000 mark, its highest level in 26 years, Japan appears to have put its “lost decade” of growth well behind it.

Over the past few years, one of the main risks that concerned our team was the possibility that asset classes could become positively correlated.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - January 2018

A broad-based synchronised recovery continues to gain traction. Following the strongest year of global growth since 2010 (estimated at 3%) the consensus forecast for the current year looks to be even rosier.

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%.

From freezing the bubble to a beautiful China

A flying visit into China post the 19th Party Congress seemed like a good idea. I got the sense that post the conference, visibility and direction over the next five years was reasonably clear. But it is more difficult to hold a similar view for 2018.

Japan Equity Monthly - January 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in December, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 1.57% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 0.32%.

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.

2018 Developed Markets Outlook

For 2018 and beyond, we see a story of central bank policy normalization and foresee the global economy growing in a similar fashion to how it did in 2017: low growth coupled with comparatively low inflation data.

2018 Global Credit Outlook

We see the key investment themes to drive performance in Global Credit in 2018 to be similar to last year. We have developed our investment themes: Long US High Yield, Long Chinese Tier1 SOEs, Long European Hybrids, Long European Financials, Long Rising Stars.

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.

Will Plan Sponsors Be Ready for China A Shares?

China has not yet been fully incorporated into indices, creating a mismatch and a unique challenge to investors in navigating this new world order.

Despite geopolitical risks and central banks that will be less dovish than the market expects, the Global Investment Committee forecasts that the G-3 economies will grow faster than consensus and that global equity markets will remain very bullish in the intermediate term.

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.

Japan’s “Show Me the Money” Corporate Governance

The implications of a surprising decline in non-manufacturers’ profit margin.

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.

Japan Equity Monthly - November 2017

The Japanese equity market rose in October, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 5.45% and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 8.16%.

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.

Abe’s New Bull Market in Equities and Home Values

The Case for Abenomics and global reflation leading to a TOPIX level of 2500 in two years’ time.

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.

Will Investors Be Ready When Chinese Bonds Go Global?

Most bond index providers have started to recognize China’s financial market liberalisation and reform efforts. We think it is only a question of time before they are included in the main benchmark indices.

Japan Equity Monthly - October 2017

The Japanese equity market moved upwards in September, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 4.34% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 4.28%.

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.