We continue to spend the vast majority of our time on company research and there are doubtless other observers better placed to predict which path that the market will go down, but it seems more likely to us that the future will look much like the pre-COVID-19 recent past. For instance, central banks have become increasingly politicised in recent years. At the same time, many national governments are more indebted than ever, having rushed through huge wage support programmes—designed to postpone a severe economic reckoning as a result of the lockdowns that they imposed.
We believe 2021 will be remembered as a year that marked the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 crisis as the world develops vaccines to counter the pandemic. In Japan, we expect a gradual recovery of its economy in 2021, as the pandemic’s impact lessens, and economic activity normalises.
The year 2020 is one most would like to forget, but for markets, performance was particularly strong despite the substantial COVID-19-related economic fallout. Certainly, ample liquidity in the form of massive monetary and fiscal stimulus was a key driver of performance, but near-term optimism may also be warranted. The vaccine rollout could return demand to more normal levels in 2021 and potentially beyond, given the pent-up demand on the back of still-massive amounts of liquidity sloshing through the system.
Following the negative performance of 2020, we believe 2021 could see better returns and a recovery for Singapore equities. We believe equity returns will remain supported by the re-opening of the Singapore economy and expect an improved market performance in 2021. With the backdrop of fewer global trade conflicts, accelerating exports, accommodative policy, higher return on equity and low foreign ownership, we expect the outlook for 2021 earnings to improve and that should support better market returns.
Despite the pandemic, markets in China were resilient and we believe that they will continue to reach new highs in 2021. Structural factors that drove the Chinese markets in 2019 and 2020 remain intact and strong leadership enabled the Chinese markets to be among the best performing (if not the best performing) markets in the world. In addition to the structural factors that we have highlighted repeatedly over the past few years, such as import substitution trends, high value-added manufacturing and deep penetration and consumption of e-commerce, new structural factors have started to emerge that stoke our optimism towards the Chinese markets.
We expect North Asia to continue to lead the region’s recovery (at least in the first half of the year). But we also expect the growth divergence between North Asia and the rest of the region to narrow. Unprecedented fiscal support from governments have been pivotal to the ongoing recovery. We expect fiscal action to continue in the coming year but anticipate renewed private sector confidence as the vaccine becomes broadly available and provides a powerful tailwind to regional growth.
Asian countries have, by and large, handled the COVID-19 pandemic better than their western counterparts and are now emerging from that nadir. Most of these countries have plenty of fiscal and/or monetary stimulus headroom. And this superior growth and better national finances are available at a significant discount to developed markets. A languid US dollar will enhance local currency returns in these “risk assets”.
We expect Asian credit spreads will tighten gradually over the coming months, supported by a solid rebound in gross domestic product (GDP) growth for most Asian economies in 2021 and stable to slightly better corporate credit fundamentals.
The global markets surged in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. While we expect the liquidity-driven rise to continue for a while, we should be prepared for the tide to eventually turn. We identify Japanese industries, notably “Delta ESG” stocks, that could become sources of alpha in the post-pandemic world.
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.
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.
While economic data is likely to remain soft, driven by the more recent lockdowns in the US and Europe, markets are rightly looking through the near-term gloom as impending vaccines for COVID-19 are showing the proverbial light at the end of this nightmarish tunnel. Over 2021, the world, in our view, should gradually return to some sense of normalcy as the pandemic slowly recedes in the rear-view mirror.
Although some on the committee agreed with the market consensus for a moderate continuation of economic growth and equity markets, and a few were even more cautious, especially regarding increased fears of inflation later in 2021, the majority agreed with a more positive scenario in which the global economy outperforms market consensus, while equities, especially those outside of the US, rally sharply.
Asian stocks turned in strong gains in November, boosted by positive COVID-19 vaccine developments, rising hopes for better US-Asia ties under the leadership of US President-elect Joe Biden and stronger-than-expected economic data from several Asian countries. The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index rose 8.0% in US dollar (USD) terms over the month.
The US Treasury (UST) yield curve flattened in November. Risk markets rallied after the US presidential election. Investor confidence was lifted following positive trial results of a COVID-19 vaccine. Yields subsequently retracted part of their earlier rise on news of soaring COVID-19 infection rates in the US and Europe and near-term downside risks to the economy.
The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned -0.11% over the month. The yield curve steepened as 3-year government bond yields ended the month 1 basis point (bp) lower at 0.11%, while 10-year government bond yields rose by 7 bps to 0.90%.
The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned 10.2% during the month. Australian equities enjoyed a strong month (in fact, the best monthly return since 1992) on positive COVID-19 vaccine news, additional quantitative easing measures locally and increased certainty regarding the US presidential election result.
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.
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.
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered changes in Japan that would have taken many years to initiate in less turbulent times. We believe there is significant value to be unlocked under such circumstances.
US Treasury (UST) yields rose in October. The US presidential election and the fiscal stimulus deal were the focal points of news headlines and markets in October. Worries about the acceleration of COVID-19 cases in the US and Western Europe, and renewed lockdowns in the latter, partially offset the upward pressure. Overall, 2-year yields ended 2.6 basis points (bps) higher at 0.155%, while 10-year yields rose 19.0 bps to 0.875%.
US presidential election jitters and an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the US and Europe triggered a downturn in global equities in October. Asian stocks, however, managed to turn in decent gains for the month, owing to a slowing pace of COVID-19 infections in the region and growing optimism over China’s economic recovery. The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index rose 2.8% in US dollar (USD) terms over the month.
With the US presidential election now behind us, the two candidates seem to be proceeding in parallel universes. The apparent winner, President-elect Joe Biden, has transition planning and inauguration on his mind while President Donald Trump continues to challenge the election process itself.
We assess the US election outcome from the perspective of the Japanese equity market, focusing on the economic and policy changes that are expected to accompany the change in US leadership.
We discuss the reasons behind the Japanese equity market’s recent outperformance and the factors likely required for the gains to be sustainable in the longer term. We also assess the recent surge by the Mothers Index and key points to watch going forward.
The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned 0.28% over the month. The yield curve steepened as 3-year government bond yields ended the month 4 basis points (bps) lower at 0.12%, while 10-year government bond yields rose by 4 bps to 0.83%. Short-term bank bill rates were all lower.
The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned 1.9% during the month. Australian equities were supported by the release of the Federal Budget early in the month which saw increased spending and tax cuts to aid the economy as it recovers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned 1.08% over the month.
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.
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.
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.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s new prime minister, is widely expected to retain his predecessor’s fiscal and monetary policies known as “Abenomics”.
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.
The price bifurcation of ASEAN equities this year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is creating ample stock-picking opportunities for long-term investors. Read on to find out which markets and sectors in the ASEAN region that we have the highest conviction in.
Asian stocks posted gains for the third consecutive month, boosted by positive COVID-19 vaccine developments around the world, the persistently weak US dollar (USD) and resilient Chinese economic data.
Despite major improvements over the last two decades, some critics will always doubt the progress of economic reform in Japan.
The US Treasury (UST) yield curve steepened in August. Yields initially traded in a tight range but experienced an abrupt rise mid-month, pushed higher by the uptick in the US July inflation readings and the US Treasury's outsized refunding announcement.
Global economic data continues to improve and deliver positive surprises relative to pessimistic consensus forecasts. While this is undoubtedly good news, it cannot negate the fact that activity levels are still well short of pre-pandemic levels.
Internet companies have gone from strength to strength, dramatically outperforming the broader market year-to-date.
It does not seem that there are enough differences between Abenomics and the proposed economic policies of likely new Prime Minister Suga to justify the completely new portmanteau “Suganomics,” as a few analysts have suggested.
In late August the Nikkei made a full recovery from the "Corona shock" lows touched in March, amid initiatives by the government and the central bank.
The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned -0.42% over the month.
The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned 2.8% during the month. Australian equities lagged most developed markets in August.
Although it is fairly clear that Buffett’s investment is not just a passive one in that he intends to collaborate on business ventures with these trading companies, the fact that the world’s most famous investor has committed to such large sums has ramifications for both domestic and international perceptions about Japanese equities.
Many media reports are suggesting that Yoshihide Suga is leading the race to be Japan’s next prime minister, with a main question being whether he, without a large faction of his own, will just be a temporary placeholder for new leader.
It is attention-grabbing for some analysts and soothsayers to speculate on politics, but this is no casual matter.
Regional markets enjoyed another bout of strong performance in July. Global market sentiment remained buoyant due to optimism about the development of a vaccine for COVID-19; upbeat earnings of big technology companies; and assurance from the US Federal Reserve (Fed) that monetary policies would remain highly accommodative in the foreseeable future.
US Treasury (UST) yields traded in a very tight range, with the yield curve ending flatter in July.
The global economic recovery is continuing, although at a marginally slower pace; this is to be expected considering the impact of the second COVID-19 wave on the US sunbelt.
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.
The Japanese equity market dropped in July, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) declining 4.02% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) falling 2.60%.
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.
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.