More mammoth stimulus in Japan

Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has unveiled a mammoth stimulus plan worth 20% of GDP. 

Japan has declared a state of emergency and announced a $990bn stimulus package in order to deal with the effects of Covid-19. While the number of cases in the world’s third-largest economy remains relatively low for now, a sharp increase in major urban areas in recent days has rattled the authorities. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also unveiled a mammoth stimulus plan worth 20% of GDP. 

Japan is likely to attract increasing attention from income-seekers jaded by sweeping dividend cuts in other developed markets, Jim McCafferty of Nomura tells Reuters. About 50% of Japanese firms have net cash on their balance sheets, leaving them well placed to honour dividend commitments. By contrast, the same is true for just 18% of the 100 biggest US non-financial firms and just 21% in the UK. The Japanese market currently yields 2.8%. 

Part of the bull case for Japan has long rested on the idea that cautious, cash-hoarding Japanese corporations were becoming more like their activist, buyback-happy Western counterparts, writes Jonathan Allum in The Blah newsletter. With Western governments now clamping down on dividends and buybacks, it would be a “supreme irony” if the Covid-19 crisis ends up seeing the rest of the world adopting some of the traditional features of Japanese capitalism, rather than the other way around.

Recommended

Three hidden gems from the Japanese stockmarket
Share tips

Three hidden gems from the Japanese stockmarket

Professional investor Nicholas Price of the Fidelity Japan Trust picks three smaller sized growth companies from Japan that he thinks have been overlo…
28 Sep 2020
What Warren Buffett sees in Japan
Japan stockmarkets

What Warren Buffett sees in Japan

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group has spent $6bn on stakes in five Japanese trading houses, despite other investors souring on the world’s thi…
11 Sep 2020
Warren Buffett's new interest in Japan
Japan stockmarkets

Warren Buffett's new interest in Japan

Warren Buffett has bought into all five of Japan’s major trading companies at a cost of around $6bn. This makes sense, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Japa…
3 Sep 2020
Japanese stocks still look cheap after Shinzo Abe's resignation
Japan stockmarkets

Japanese stocks still look cheap after Shinzo Abe's resignation

A period of uncertainty after Shinzo Abe's resignation could be a good chance to buy Japanese stocks at a good price.
3 Sep 2020

Most Popular

Investors are shunning UK stocks – but they might regret that in a year’s time
UK stockmarkets

Investors are shunning UK stocks – but they might regret that in a year’s time

There are a number of reasons why investors aren't buying UK stocks, says John Stepek. But they may want to rethink that strategy.
29 Sep 2020
Are we really in a stockmarket bubble?
US stockmarkets

Are we really in a stockmarket bubble?

The rise of “cash shell” companies, sky-high valuations – everything seems to point to a stockmarket bubble. But all may not quite be as it appears, s…
28 Sep 2020
Two commodities that could lie at the heart of the next resources bubble
Energy

Two commodities that could lie at the heart of the next resources bubble

Commodities tend to move in cycles. And if you can identify early on which ones are about to surge in demand, you can profit handsomely. Dominic Frisb…
30 Sep 2020