Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Japan is a forward-looking, pragmatic bastion of stability in an increasingly uncertain world. The recent cabinet reshuffle cements the unique position that Japanese politics and policymaking occupies relative to most other democratically elected governments.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and his ruling coalition won a very comfortable majority, but fell short of gaining the two-thirds supermajority required for fast-track constitutional reform in Sunday’s Upper House election. Jesper Koll outlines the key signposts and challenges immediately ahead for Japan.
Japan’s gross domestic product report from last week was stronger than expected, up 2.1% quarter over quarter and annualized, against expectations for a small decline. Jesper Koll discusses the Japan equity investment implications amid the macroeconomic and political environments.
With Japan so far out of favor among investors, is it a contrarian opportunity, or are we continuing to be fooled by the false allure of Japan’s potential?
2019 is likely to be a good year for Japan. However, there are some outlier scenarios investors may worry about. Improbable as they may seem, any movement toward their far-out direction will force a true about-face in the current consensus. Jesper Koll outlines 10 potential surprises for Japan in 2019.
Jeremy J Siegel
Senior Investment Strategy Advisor
CEO of WisdomTree
Jeremy Schwartz, CFA
Executive Vice President, Global Head of Research
Christopher Gannatti, CFA
Head of Research, Europe
Christopher Gannatti began at WisdomTree as a Research Analyst in December 2010, working directly with Jeremy Schwartz, CFA®, Director of Research. In January of 2014, he was promoted to Associate Director of Research where he was responsible to lead different groups of analysts and strategists within the broader Research team at WisdomTree. In February of 2018, Christopher was promoted to Head of Research, Europe, where he will be based out of WisdomTree’s London office and will be responsible for the full WisdomTree research effort within the European market, as well as supporting the UCITs platform globally. Christopher came to WisdomTree from Lord Abbett, where he worked for four and a half years as a Regional Consultant. He received his MBA in Quantitative Finance, Accounting, and Economics from NYU’s Stern School of Business in 2010, and he received his bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in Economics in 2006. Christopher is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Head of Fixed Income Strategy
Tripp Zimmerman, CFA
Head of Fixed Income & Currency
Associate Director, Asset Allocation and Modern Alpha
Head of Capital Markets
Associate Director of Capital Markets
Head of Europe
Joseph Tenaglia, CFA
Associate Director, Asset Allocation
Jianing Wu joined WisdomTree as a Research Analyst in October 2018. She is responsible for analyzing market trends and helping support WisdomTree’s research efforts. Previously, Jianing completed internships and projects at Geode Capital, Starwint Capital, and Invesco Great Wall Fund Management with a focus in quantitative research. Jianing received her M.S in Finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She graduated with honors from Boston College with degrees in Mathematics and Philosophy.
Jeff Weniger, CFA
Director, Asset Allocation
Alejandro Saltiel, CFA
Associate Director of Modern Alpha
Alejandro Saltiel joined WisdomTree as a Quantitative Research Analyst in May 2017. He is responsible for quantitative research on WisdomTree’s products and global equity markets. Prior to joining WisdomTree, Alejandro worked at HSBC Asset Management’s Mexico City office as Portfolio Manager for multi-asset mutual funds. He started his career working at a boutique hedge fund that specialized on trading options on sector-levered ETFs. Alejandro received his Master’s in Financial Engineering degree from Columbia University in 2017 and a Bachelor’s in Engineering degree from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in 2010. He is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Matt Wagner, CFA
Modern Alpha Analyst
Matt Wagner joined WisdomTree in May 2017 as a member of the Research team. He is responsible for research on WisdomTree’s products and communicating the firm’s views on the markets. Matt started his career at Morgan Stanley, working as an analyst in Treasury Capital Markets from 2015 to 2017 where he focused on unsecured funding planning, execution and risk management. Matt graduated from Boston College in 2015 with a B.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Economics. Matt is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Investment Strategy Analyst
Brian Manby joined WisdomTree in October 2018 as an Investment Strategy Analyst. He is responsible for assisting in the creation and analysis of WisdomTree’s model portfolios, as well as helping support the firm’s research efforts. Prior to joining WisdomTree, he worked for FactSet Research Systems, Inc. as a Senior Consultant, where he assisted clients in the creation, maintenance and support of FactSet products in the investment management workflow. Brian received a B.A. as a dual major in Economics and Political Science from the University of Connecticut in 2016, and is pursuing the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Kara Marciscano, CFA
Last week, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe presented an update on his economic policy priorities for 2016 and beyond. The new details of Japan’s “Abenomics 2.0” policy discussion suggest to us that structural growth policy is very much moving in the right direction, with Team Abe making concrete progress on building credible alliances with business leaders for his growth strategy.
The Bank of Japan decided to maintain its steady policy course this week, very much in line with consensus expectations. However, its policy statement did add a twist to a previously mentioned sentence.
Japanese risk assets—equities and real estate—are in a multi-year bull market, in our view. We are bullish on Japan because we believe the fundamental allocation of national assets—capital, land and labor—is beginning to change.
We expect added Bank of Japan action. A move as early as this week is possible—the BOJ policy board meets Oct 7, but I personally think that a move at the next meeting, on October 30, is more likely.
Pro-growth economic policy making is poised to make a comeback in Japan over the coming six to eight weeks, in our view. With the controversial new security bill now largely in the rearview mirror, “Team Abe” will want to re-establish economic policy-making credentials as quickly as possible.