Nikko Asset Management Expects Japan, Europe and Developed Asia-Pacific Equities to Outperform

Press Release

4 April 2016

  • Japan, Europe and developed Asia-Pacific ex-Japan equities should perform well in the next six months
  • Moves global equities stance to neutral due to a cautious U.S. equity outlook
  • Oil prices to rise slightly in quarters ahead, despite additional supply from Iran
  • Fed will likely raise interest rates in June and in December

A cautious outlook for U.S. equities has led Nikko Asset Management's Global Investment Committee (GIC) to revise its stance on global equities to neutral from moderately overweight. However, the GIC was positive on Japanese and developed Asia-Pacific ex-Japan equities, the Tokyo-headquartered asset manager's latest house view showed.

"We went neutral on global equities in September and then went cautiously overweight in December, so we have not been very bullish for a while, but we certainly were negatively surprised by the volatility and bearish action in equities and commodities," said John Vail, chief global strategist and chairman of the GIC. "Our new macro-backdrop scenario results in a cautious view on global equities, expecting relatively flat performance in the United States, but positive on other regions, especially Japan and Pacific ex-Japan."

The GIC members, who are senior investment professionals from the company's global offices, noted that the U.S. equities market is overpriced. U.S. corporate earnings were not expected to improve very much making the current price-earnings ratio unattractive. The S&P 500 is trading at 17 times NTM (next twelve months) bottom-up consensus earnings, which is historically high.

The firm's key investment committee has an overweight stance on Eurozone equities. The positive earnings effect of euro weakness, expected relief from a vote to reject Brexit and continued regional growth being the main factors to support the Eurozone equities' overweight view.

With regards to Japan, the committee maintained a positive view that a weaker yen and moderately improved global growth will drive earnings and stock price growth. Also, Japanese equities are supported by strong pretax profit margins which remained at record highs, on an annual basis, as of the fourth quarter.

The committee said it will maintain an overweight stance on developed Asia-Pacific ex-Japan equities amid expectations of significant strength in Hong Kong and Australian equities over the next six months as both benefit from increased confidence in the Chinese economy.

The committee said the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise its interest rates twice this year, once in June and again in December but there is a chance that the June hike could be delayed until July if the central bank wishes to wait for the Brexit vote. The GIC's forecast of two interest rate hikes this year is more hawkish than expected, thus negative for global bonds but positive for the U.S. currency.

As for oil, the GIC expects Brent crude to trade at $45 per barrel at the end of September and to rise slightly in the following quarters. The committee believes production in the U.S. shale sector will likely decline more rapidly than expected, but Iran is expected to export even more, which should cap prices to a large degree.

Nikko Asset Management's GIC met on March 30 for its quarterly review of global economic conditions. Based on the findings of its senior investment professionals around the world, the company periodically reconsiders house views on the major global markets and asset classes.

The committee's main forecasts1 at this time are:

U.S.: Half-year GDP growth (April to September 2016) of 2.3 percent half-on-half, with the S&P 500 rising 0.2 percent in dollar terms over the next six months to September 2016.

Japan: Half-year GDP growth of 1.3 percent half-on-half, with TOPIX rising11.1 percent in yen terms over the next six months to September 2016.

Eurozone: Half-year GDP growth of 1.7 percent half-on-half, with MSCI Europe rising 8.3 percent in euro terms over the next six months to September 2016.

1Total return from the base date of March 18, 2016

For inquiries, please contact:

Asia ex-Japan Corporate Communications
Jeanie Cheah
12 Marina View
#18-02 Asia Square Tower 2
Singapore 018961
Phone: + 65-6500-5793

About Nikko Asset Management

With USD203.9 billion* under management, Nikko Asset Management is one of Asia’s largest asset managers, providing high-conviction, active fund management across a range of equity, fixed income, multi-asset and alternative strategies. In addition, its complementary range of passive strategies covers more than 20 indices and includes some of Asia’s leading exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Headquartered in Asia since 1959, Nikko Asset Management and its subsidiaries employ personnel representing around 30 nationalities, including approximately 200 investment professionals**. The firm has a presence through subsidiaries or affiliates in a total of 11 countries and regions. More than 400 banks, brokers, financial advisors and life insurance companies around the world distribute the firm’s products.

The investment teams benefit from a unique global perspective complemented by the firm's historic Asian DNA, striving to deliver consistent excellence in performance. The firm also prides itself on its progressive, solution-driven approach, which has led to many innovative funds launched for its clients.

For more information about Nikko Asset Management and to access its investment insights, please visit the firm’s homepage.

* Consolidated assets under management and sub-advisory of Nikko Asset Management and its subsidiaries as of .
** Including employees of Nikko Asset Management and its subsidiaries as of .

Important Information

Any prediction, projection or forecast on the economy, stock market, bond market or the economic trends of the markets which are targeted by the fund is not necessarily indicative of the future or likely performance of the fund. Nikko AM Asia reserves the right to make changes and corrections to the information, including any opinions or forecasts expressed herein at any time, without notice. Nikko AM Asia accepts no liability for any loss whatsoever arising from any use of or reliance on any of the opinions expressed. Whilst Nikko AM Asia believes that the information is correct at the date of production, no warranty or representation, whether express or implied, is given to this effect and Nikko AM Asia expressly disclaims liability for any errors or omissions. The information contained in this document is given on a general basis without obligation and on the understanding that any person acting upon or in reliance on it, does so entirely at his or her own risk.

Nikko Asset Management Asia Limited, Registration Number 198202562H

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