Insights

Investment Insights by our experts and thought leaders

Global Fixed Income Quarterly - Q3 2021 Outlook

As we roll into the August lull, we cannot help but ask the question: Where has the reflation trade gone? Expectations were for a display of heroism by the Federal Reserve (Fed) with Chair Jerome Powell announcing his grand taper plan at the Jackson Hole symposium, but I guess we will still have to wait for the big reveal.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly - June 2021

New Zealand’s bond market was relatively flat in June, although most sectors were on the positive side. Looking ahead, New Zealand appears set to track the US, where interest rate hikes could now happen as early as 2022.

New Zealand Equity Monthly - June 2021

This month, we take a look at the current state and prospects of New Zealand’s five main electricity generators/retail providers. Almost all the electricity in New Zealand is generated by five companies: Genesis Energy, Contact Energy, Meridian Energy, Mercury Energy and Trustpower.

"Thank goodness the Olympics burden is over!"

This is the likely phrase one will often hear in a few weeks, especially among equity investors and Japan’s political leadership. Of course, there are currently very few people in Japan who are very enthusiastic about holding the Olympics and virtually everyone would agree that it is a burden, but only the International Olympic Committee (IOC) can cancel an Olympics.

Asian Equity Monthly - June 2021

Asian stocks edged lower in June, partly weighed down by a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the region. Lingering worries about rising inflation and fears of a faster-than-expected tapering of the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing programme also dampened sentiment.

Multi-asset Monthly - July 2021

The US and China are likely reaching peak growth as stimulus and the initial burst of pent-up demand begin to wane. In China, while the credit impulse has turned negative—usually an ominous sign—demand continues to normalise, shifting from outsized demand in manufacturing back to normal patterns of consumption with authorities still fine-tuning the extension of credit to the parts of the real economy that need it.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - June 2021

The US Treasury (UST) yield curve flattened in June, with short-dated bonds underperforming. The Federal Reserve’s (Fed) hawkish pivot caused the UST curve to flatten aggressively mid-month.

Japan Equity Monthly - June 2021

We discuss what global inflation could mean for Japan, with the country having struggled extensively with deflation; we also assess the BOJ‘s plan to boost funding for mitigating climate change and what that could mean in the longer run from a corporate governance perspective.

Navigating credit opportunities in a recovering world

The momentum gained by the global credit market in 2020 has continued into 2021 and we appear to be on track for another strong year of performance. Low government bond yields, ample liquidity and improving credit quality have supported a market that now trades with spreads at all-time lows in some pockets.

Dispelling negative notions about Japan amid its increasing importance

Japan’s stock market does not deserve many of the ages-old worries and criticisms. Indeed, while not every company or circumstance is perfect, its performance, though lower than that of the US, has steadily outperformed, in constant currency terms, its other main global market rival, Europe, since late 2012 when Shinzo Abe was elected to lead the LDP.

Out of the six scenarios presented, a solid majority of our committee agreed again on a positive scenario, in which the global economy matches the market consensus for very strong growth, while equities continue to rally.

New Zealand Equity Monthly - May 2021

The New Zealand equity market has been blessed by strong upward revisions in corporate earnings and a robust macro framework, with the country further along than its peers in a V-shaped recovery from a COVID-19-induced downturn.

New Zealand Fixed Income Monthly - May 2021

We believe that the recent rise in New Zealand’s interest rates has put the bond market in a good place, as the alternative may have been a negative interest rate regime instead. Without higher interest rates the government would have found it difficult to fund itself, as the country’s bonds may not have otherwise been attractive to offshore investors.

The Fed raises concerns on inflation

After many years of trying to stimulate inflation, central banks are now facing inflation levels that are far exceeding recent trends. In May, eurozone inflation rose to 2% and in the US core inflation reached 3.8% (almost a 30-year high).

A new era for manager due diligence

The 2007-2008 global financial crisis had a lasting impact on public and private pension funds, as the collapse of Lehman Brothers and massive fraud committed by Wall Street money manager Bernie Madoff placed greater emphasis on fiduciary obligations and manager due diligence.

Reaping big rewards in Asian small caps

Grace Yan, a Senior Portfolio Manager and a member of the Nikko AM Asian Equity Team, talks about the underlying reasons behind her recent success in winning Citywire Asia’s Best Fund Manager award and her passion about uncovering hidden gems in the Asian small-cap equity arena.

Multi-asset Monthly - June 2021

Despite very bumpy economic data—particularly on inflation—rates have compressed, implying most of the “surprises” have already been priced in. This is positive for growth assets that respond better to yield curve stability than the sudden steepening that defined the first quarter.

Asian Equity Monthly - May 2021

Supported by optimism about the region’s ongoing economic recovery, Asian stocks delivered decent gains in May, shrugging off concerns about a spike in COVID-19 cases in several Asian countries and persistent worries about inflation.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - May 2021

US Treasury (UST) yields traded in a relatively narrow range in May. Inflation fears resurfaced, prompted by rising commodity prices and a marked increase in headline consumer and producer price indices in the US.

Are rising yields a concern for Asian REITs?

We believe that Asian REITs will continue to perform well while the economic recovery in Asia and the rest of the world remains strong and as long as the rise in bond yields do not become excessive.

Japan Equity Monthly - May 2021

We explain why corporate earnings in FY21 are expected to begin reflecting recovering confidence among Japanese companies as vaccine rollouts gain momentum. We also look into the BOJ’s trial run for a digital yen and the impact such a currency could have on the economy and markets.

Future Quality Insights - June 2021

Who hasn’t sat at home, shouting at the TV as a contestant on a quiz show offers up a hopelessly wrong answer? Incredulity, frustration and a sense of helplessness are all common emotions in that situation. At least you normally get a good laugh at the end of it.

Rising nationalism spurs Chinese consumers to go local

With the recent rise of nationalism in China, many foreign brands operating in the world’s second largest economy are now treading very carefully in their marketing campaigns and public communiqué.

While the Japanese equity market managed to strongly rebound in 2020 after a sharp fall at the start of the pandemic, it has lagged its peers in 2021 amid the country’s struggle to contain COVID-19 and its slow rollout of vaccinations.

Until recently, Japan was lauded as one of the few countries that successfully limited the COVID-19 outbreak. However, more than a year into the pandemic, Japan’s slow vaccine rollout is coming under increased scrutiny with the country lagging far behind its G7 peers in vaccinations.

Multi-asset Monthly - May 2021

The US Treasury (UST) market has been an important barometer of the reflation trade for markets this year. Most asset classes have performed in line with movements in UST yields as correlations, whether positive or negative, remain strong.

Asian Equity Monthly – April 2021

Asian stocks turned in decent gains in April on optimism about the region’s economic recovery, especially after China and several other Asian countries reported better-than-expected 1Q21 GDP growth. The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index gained 2.5% in US dollar (USD) terms over the month.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - April 2021

US Treasury (UST) yields stabilised in April. Yields came off despite domestic data confirming that the US economy had gained momentum, and inflation numbers that were above market expectations. The Federal Open Market Committee statement announced no new changes to the direction of monetary policy but offered a more upbeat tone on the outlook.

Net zero carbon: Is it all just hot air?

"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing", quipped Oscar Wilde.

Japan Equity Monthly - April 2021

We gauge Japan’s slow vaccine rollout from an economic perspective and assess the shift in work styles that occurred during the pandemic and its potential impact on real estate prices.

The case for Asian small caps

Exhibiting an extensive track record of outperformance versus big caps and offering good diversification from traditional equities, we believe that Asian small-cap stocks provide numerous investment merits for long-term investors.

Core markets fixed income quarterly

The striking 52% year-on-year surge in prices of second-hand US vehicles has, as expected, caught market attention, with global chip shortages often blamed for the disruption in the market for used cars. Behind the scenes, however, stands Joe Biden, the US incumbent president, whose first 100 days in the office was marked by several milestones, some of which could quite convincingly add more “meat” to the story.

Emerging market fixed income quarterly

Emerging Markets (EM) debt began 2021 by consolidating after an exceptional performance at the end of 2020. The negative performance was mostly driven by a widening of US Treasury yields while spreads remained broadly unchanged.

Global Equity Quarterly Q1 2021

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 investment.

Global credit quarterly

The global credit market saw a positive start into the year in Q12021 as spreads continued to tighten. However, total returns were negatively impacted by the global move toward higher rates. At the beginning of 2021, cyclical sectors came back to the forefront and outperformed. Energy and automotive sectors were among the winners, while utilities lagged the rally.

Multi-asset monthly - April 2021

As reflationary dynamics gain support from refreshed stimulus in the US and a largely successful vaccine rollout with returning growth already to show for it, the reflation trade appears a bit exhausted as measured by market action. However, we see the current dynamic more as a pause than a conclusion.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - March 2021

The UST yield curve steepened further in March as stronger-than-expected domestic economic data prints, passage of the US dollar (USD) 1.9 trillion stimulus package and a ramp-up in the rate of US vaccinations amid slowing daily infection rates prompted investors to increasingly price in accelerating growth in the coming quarters.

Asian equity monthly – March 2021

Asian stocks succumbed to profit-taking in March as hopes over a vaccine-led regional economic recovery were overshadowed by persistent reflationary concerns and rising global bond yields. The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index fell by 2.5% in US dollar (USD) terms over the month.

Palm oil investing through an ESG lens

Does investing in palm oil companies pose a controversy or present an opportunity? Here is a deep-dive analysis of the palm oil sector and the material ESG issues facing it. All in all, we believe that positive ESG changes represent a strong opportunity for palm oil companies, and we look for candidates that strive towards sustainability goals and exceed their ESG targets.

Time to revisit China sovereigns and policy bank bonds

Following a tumultuous 2020 marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, global growth in 2021 is expected to improve on the back of positive vaccine developments and continued government measures. However, the pace of recovery is likely to be uneven among economies and fears of a resurgence of COVID-19 linger. It would be presumptuous to say that we are finally out of the woods.

Japan Equity Monthly - March 2021

We provide our view on the Bank of Japan’s latest policy review, under which the central bank decided to allow long-term rates to fluctuate in a wider band and removed its annual target for ETF purchases. We also assess the barring of foreign spectators from the Olympic games.

Global Investment Committee Outlook: Continue risk-positive

A large majority of our members agreed on a positive scenario in which the global economy mildly outperforms market consensus, while equities continue to rally.

Japan equities poised for further gains along with a turnaround for value

In February 2021, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average reached JPY 30,000 for the first time in over three decades. We believe that equities will keep rising, and that amid this shift in the broader market Japanese value stocks are on the cusp of a long-awaited turnaround.

Multi-asset monthly - March 2021

The strong start to the year for global equity markets hit its first bump in the road in February. While most countries are still delivering a positive return for the year, markets have retreated from their highs to varying degrees.

Asian equity monthly – February 2021

Asian stocks gained in February as investors upheld optimism about a vaccine-led regional economic recovery. The MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Index rose 1.2% in US dollar (USD) terms over the month.

Asian Fixed Income Monthly - February 2021

The potential return of long-muted inflation sparked a meaningful jump in US Treasury (UST) yields in February. Fears of rising price pressures were prompted by the combination of robust domestic data, positive development on the COVID-19 vaccine front and an anticipated increase in US federal spending. Overall, 2-year and 10-year yields ended the month at 0.13% and 1.41%, respectively, about 1.9 basis points (bps) and 34 bps higher compared to end-January.

Credit spreads explained: The devil is in the details

For corporate bond investors one of the most important points of discussion is spreads. Spreads are the industry term for the risk premium an investor aims to earn in the corporate bond market. It is the difference between the yield a bond is promising and the risk-free rate. If spreads are narrowing it is positive for investors as the price of the corporate bond will increase; likewise, a widening leads to a lower bond price.

Australian Fixed Income Monthly – February 2021

The Australian bond market (as measured by the Bloomberg AusBond Composite 0+ Yr Index) returned -3.58% over the month. The yield curve steepened dramatically as 3-year government bond yields ended the month 1 basis point (bp) higher at 0.12%, while 10-year government bond yields spiked by 79 basis points (bps) to 1.92%. Short-term bank bill rates were marginally higher.

Australian equity monthly - February 2021

The S&P/ASX 200 Accumulation Index returned 1.5% during the month. Australian equities underperformed key offshore markets as a strong reporting season was offset by a surge in 10-year bond yields late in the month on the back of inflationary expectations. The global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and US fiscal stimulus saw the reflation trade take hold.

Japan Equity Monthly - February 2021

We assess the factors that enabled the Nikkei to rise above the 30,000 threshold for the first time since 1990; we also view the recent Robinhood frenzy from a Japanese market perspective.

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Nikko AM works with the UK-based international organisation Carbon Footprint Ltd. to offset carbon emissions through offset programmes, and has been certified as carbon neutral since 2018.