Seeking bargains in Japan
Wall Street Journal -- Apr 05
Most international-stock funds have long gone light on Japan, whose economy has been beset for years by problems including a strong currency that has weighed on exports, a fast-aging population and massive government debt.
But now some fund managers say they are finding some attractive bargains among Japanese stocks.
The average fund in Morningstar Inc.'s world-stock category recently had 7.6% of its portfolio in Japanese shares, below the benchmark MSCI World Index's 9.1% exposure to Japan at the end of March. Funds focusing on non-U.S. stocks had an average of 15% of their assets in Japan, compared with a 21.6% weighting for Japanese stocks in the MSCI EAFE Index of developed overseas markets.
But some individual global and foreign-stock funds, particularly those with a bargain-hunting "value" orientation, have stakes in Japanese shares that range up to about 40% of fund assets.
"We are not investing in Japan but in companies domiciled in Japan," says Rob Taylor, a co-manager of the Oakmark Global fund, with a 21.6% stake in Japanese stocks as of the end of last year, and Oakmark International, with a 20.5% stake. In Japan, he says, investors can find "beautiful businesses at dirt-cheap prices" despite the gloom that has long surrounded the country's economy.
|| Population declines for 3rd straight year |
| || The nation's population has slipped for the third straight year to a 13-year low, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Tuesday. (The Japan News ) |
|| Mizuno apologizes for ball defect in pro baseball |
| || Japan's professional baseball league was facing another ball scandal Tuesday as sports equipment giant Mizuno apologized for a defect that turned the nation's top sport into a slugfest. (Japan Today ) |
|| Anne Frank vandalism suspect to face psychiatric test |
| || Tokyo prosecutors plan to look into whether a man, who has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing copies of Anne Frank's diary, is mentally competent to be held criminally responsible for his actions, informed sources said Wednesday. (Jiji Press ) |
|| Hakamada makes first public appearance as reprieve pends |
| || Apparently perplexed but thrilled to find himself in the spotlight, Iwao Hakamada, formerly the world's longest-serving death-row inmate, made his first public appearance Monday in Tokyo since being released from prison and hospitalized. (Japan Times ) |
|| 3 family members, one relative found dead in Aichi |
| || Aichi prefectural police are investigating a possible link between the discovery of the bodies of a husband and wife and their eldest son, and the body of a male relative of the deceased family who was found hanging by his neck in a hotel. (Japan Today ) |
|| Body of missing worker from Okinotori atoll accident found |
| || The body of one of two missing workers who died on March 30 after a floating pier overturned while being unloaded from a barge during construction work on a remote rocky atoll, was found on Sunday, the coast guard said. (Japan Today ) |
|| 600 million dreamers |
| || Mickey Mouse and friends celebrate the 600 millionth visitor to Tokyo Disney Resort's two theme parks (The Japan News ) |