Investors Warming to Japan's Revival

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), November 28, 1999 | Go to article overview

Investors Warming to Japan's Revival


Byline: SALLY HAMILTON

JAPAN'S rising sun is at last bringing a warm glow to investors who have seen many false dawns in their wait for a return to the good times.

Fund managers who predicted a recovery in the country's beleaguered economy and stock market for most of the Nineties were proved wrong time and time again.

But the past 12 months have proved an exception and it appears that the recovery is being sustained. Several funds have enjoyed exceptional growth.

Even the poorest performing unit trust, Mercury WT Japan Equity Bull, has risen 42%.

Investors in the top-performing specialist Japanese unit trust, Invesco GT Japanese Smaller Companies, revelled in near sixfold growth. A [pounds sterling]1,000 investment made a year ago is now worth [pounds sterling]5,721.

Among general Japanese funds, Johnson Fry's New Japan unit trust came top by more than quadrupling a [pounds sterling]1,000 investment to [pounds sterling]4,415 over the same period.

Walter Steinberg is among the army of investors enjoying the fruits of Japan's revival. Walter, 77, from north-west London, says: 'My investment with Save & Prosper was switched from South-East Asia to Japan about six months ago and since then has doubled. I'm delighted and will hang on to it because I believe the country's economy is still on the up.' The reversal of fortune might cheer recent investors, but those who piled in during the late Eighties may still feel unable to trust the economy. The stock market's Nikkei index halved in value from 40,000 to 20,000 points in 1990 before falling further. Today it is still only about 19,000.

Philip Whittom, head of the Japan desk at fund group Investec Guinness Flight, believes that a steady transformation in the corporate culture in Japan is the key to the recent recovery. …

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