The Week In Hindsight, 28 February 2014

Shinzo Abe added another string to his bow this week as retail sales, industrial production and CPI inflation were each revealed to have expanded during the last month. The results are another positive step for the Prime Minister and his plans to revive the economy, although they did little to excite investors in Japanese stocks.

The NIKKEI rose meekly in response to the news as concerns over the sales tax increase scheduled to enter into effect in early April dampened the spirits of investors. This is as the impact upon consumer spending that the tax change is likely to have is not yet known. These concerns exist out of fears that the increase could slow spending within the economy, as a result hampering growth.

Despite investor concerns, Japanese fundamentals continue to move in the right direction, while any sustained deterioration on this front will likely be met by further stimulus. Both of these outcomes are positive for Japanese stocks and although downside potential does exist in the near term, we continue to view the area as one of opportunity.