Japanese equities are hitting new highs, and financial sector stocks and related exchange traded funds are leading the charge.
Over the past month, the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Financials Fund (NYSEArca: DXJF), which tracks the Japanese financial sector and hedges against a depreciating yen currency, jumped 15.5%. In contrast, the broader non-hedged iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: EWJ), which has a 19.1% tilt toward financials, rose 7.9% and the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ), which includes a 11.3% position in financials, increased 8.0% over the past month. [Japan ETFs: Rising Suns, Attractive Valuations]
Due to falling interest rates and oil prices, Goldman Sachs analysts have raised their risk attitude and upgraded “reflation-related sectors,” including banks, insurance and real estate companies to Buy, reports Shuli Ren for Barron’s.
DXJF includes a group of banks and insurance companies. Specifically, the ETF has a 30.3% tilt toward diversified banks, 28.8% to regional banks, 13.3%, to property & casualty insurance, 8.3% to investment banking & brokerage and 7.0% to life & health insurance.
For real estate exposure, the Japan Hedged Real Estate Fund (NYSEArca: DXJR) tracks a group of diversified real estate, real estate investment trusts and some construction companies. DXJR is up 3.2% year-to-date and 3.5% higher over the past month.
On the other hand, Goldman analysts have downgraded defensive pharmaceuticals to sell. The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Health Care Fund (NYSEArca: DXJH) was up 6.4% over the past month. DXJH includes a 68.6% position in pharmaceuticals.
Yoshihisa Okamoto, the head of equity research at Mizuho Asset Management Co., also argued that the popularity of stable equities is no reason to turn bearish as the defensive play could shift, Bloomberg reported.