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Japan stock rally cools, but Goldman Sachs sees no need for pessimism

0– A rally in Japanese stocks slowed substantially after the first quarter of 2024 as the Nikkei 225 index tread water below record highs, although Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) analysts said they did not see much need for pessimism towards the market.

The Nikkei 225 rallied as far as a record high of 41,087.75 points in the first quarter. But the index has since stalled in a range well below 40,000 points, hit by a mix of concerns over weakness in the Japanese yen, a sluggish economy and weak consumer spending. 

Japanese companies also flagged a somewhat disappointing earnings outlook for the coming quarters, despite clocking strong earnings through the March quarter.

While this presented some near-term headwinds, Goldman Sachs analysts said that recent declines in share prices were likely to be negated by optimism over an eventual upward revisions in earnings guidance. 

“As is well known to investors familiar with the Japanese equity market, initial guidance from Japanese corporates tends to err on the conservative side,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note. 

They said that the negative price reaction to the conservative guidance likely came from new investors in Japanese markets over the past year. Strength in Japanese stocks had attracted a slew of foreign investors into the market. 

Goldman Sachs analysts also flagged optimism over changes to corporate governance structures made during the quarterly results. 

They said that the “meaningful increase” in share buyback announcements was particularly noteworthy, and presented value for investors. 


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