Insights

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.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - November 2018

Global growth remains desynchronized, with China, the Eurozone and Japan continuing to show further signs of moderation, while the US remains relatively robust.

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%.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - October 2018

Global growth remains desynchronized, with China, the Eurozone and Japan showing a further moderation in growth, while the US remains robust.

ESG's Emergence as a Principal Theme in Asia

Earth’s largest single geographic region, Asia represents approximately 60% of the planet’s population and is one of its fastest growing economic areas. The region had more billionaires in 2017 than anywhere else and it will represent 57% of middle-class consumption by 2030.

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.

In the AI Age, Active Managers Making Smart Human Decisions Will Win

One of the pleasures of getting older is that you start to have proper grown-up conversations with your children.

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.

Global Equity Quarterly Report - Q3 2018

How do you react when you see blood; do you swoon or just observe with intrigue? Perhaps conditioned by a recent overdose in crime related dramas (favourites include: ‘Killing Eve’, ‘Peaky Blinders’ & ‘Better Call Saul’), it was the latter outcome for me after a recent DIY debacle with a saw.

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.

Japan Equity Monthly - November 2018

The Japanese equity market dropped in October, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) falling 9.41% and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) declining 9.04% on-month.

Global equities corrected downwards by 7.5% in USD terms in October. Stocks in the US ended the month down 6.5% after an intra-month peak-to-trough drawdown exceeding -10%.

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%.

Climate Change - an Unstoppable Force?

As the world experiences more extreme weather patterns and climate-related incidents, pressure is mounting to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The trade war between the US and China appears to be morphing into deeper and more protracted conflict as reflected in a recent speech by US Vice President Mike Pence, who criticised China not just for trade practices but more fundamentally for its broad political and economic model.

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.

Japan Equity Monthly - October 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in September, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 5.55% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 6.17%.

ESG Insights : Assessing Stranded Assets in the Electricity Sector

Nikko AM values companies based on their sustainable earnings capacity. Embedded in our research process is a consideration of all relevant risks that impact sustainable earnings and therefore have valuation implications. This obviously includes risk factors that fall within the ESG realm.

A trade deal was finally struck between the US and Canada that combined with the Mexico deal has been rebranded as "USMCA", though it could aptly be described as the same old NAFTA with a few tweaks.

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.

Food Tech: Investing in the Sustainability of the Future

The late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain once remarked that “Singapore is possibly the most food-centric place on Earth, with the most enthusiastic diners, the most varied and abundant, affordable dishes — available for cheap — on a per-square-mile basis.”

Finding Multi-Baggers From ESG Controversy

The NikkoAM Asia ex Japan equities team focuses on two core characteristics in our fundamental research; sustainability of returns and positive fundamental change.

As markets continue to grapple with the potential for a protracted trade war between China and the US, central banks have stuck to their task of setting monetary policy.

Another Conversation on ESG with a CIO

In my first article, I outlined our philosophy that ESG is fundamental to, and inseparable from, good investing. ESG is fully integrated into our investment process, because it is the right thing to do. We believe that one cannot claim to be a good fiduciary, mandated to create and preserve long-term wealth, while ignoring the principles of sustainable and responsible investing.

Asian Equity Monthly Outlook - September 2018

The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan (AxJ) Index fell by 1.02% in USD terms in August, largely on the back of currency weakness. Investor sentiments were driven by fears of an escalating trade war and risks of an emerging market contagion. During the month, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) left interest rates unchanged.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly Outlook - September 2018

In August, the US Treasury (UST) curve flattened. Near-term yields rose due to expectations of a September Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike, while mid to long-dated yields fell. Escalating US-China trade tensions and the weaker-than-expected July US jobs report pushed UST yields lower at the start of the month.

Solid global economy and equity returns

Our updated house view is that the G-3 and Chinese economies will continue solid through September 2019 approximately in line with consensus expectations, while we expect central banks to reduce their accommodation similarly to consensus expectations.

ESG in the investment process

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.

Promoting Client Interests

The Corporate Sustainability Department that Nikko Asset Management recently established embodies the Firm’s enduring commitment to integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in every aspect of its operations.

From the Australian Equities desk - August 18

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

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

China Continues to Mitigate its Macro Concerns

The macroeconomic issues that plague China are well known, but we believe that China is able to engineer a soft landing and to sustain growth, albeit at a lower level than it is used to.

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.

Global Fixed Income & Credit Outlook - August 2018

Global growth remains desynchronized, with the Eurozone, Japan and the UK showing an ongoing moderation in growth, whilst the US remains robust.

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.

Japan Equity Monthly - August 2018

The Japanese equity market rose in July, with the TOPIX (w/dividends) climbing 1.30% on-month and the Nikkei 225 (w/dividends) rising 1.12%. Stocks started the month lower amid anxiety over intensifying trade tensions between the US and China.

Equity pessimism took a breather in July as investors shifted focus from trade wars to the start of this quarter’s highly anticipated earnings season. With 53% of the companies in the S&P 500 reporting, over 80% had positive earnings-per-share surprises and almost 80% reported a positive sales surprise.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Global Equity:
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Global Equity: Identifying Future Quality