By Philip Haddon | 14:01:34 | 04 February 2010
Fund manager Christian Cambier, the founder of French boutique Prigest, is tipping Japan to be the most interesting equity market for 2010.
Speaking at Citywire’s Paris forum, Cambier said Japan is now being widely overlooked by investors.
‘Nobody has Japan funds anymore. Everyone is launching new China or India or Brazil funds, but people forget about Japan,’ he said.
Cambier runs two funds: Valfrance, a French equity fund, and Royale Pacifique, which invests in both Japan and Hong Kong. Currently with his Royale Pacifique fund he is loading up on Japanese shares, though avoiding those that are domestically focused. His five-year performance with the Valfrance fund leaves him second in the fund manager rankings in the Equity France sector, having delivered a total return of 48.87%.
‘I think Japan is the market for 2010,’ he said. ‘It has been the casualty for the last 20 years, but this can change this year. You don’t buy Japan, you buy stocks. When you buy Nestle, you are not buying Switzerland you are buying a great company. Companies like Hitachi have been going down for years and are now fully undervalued.’
He points out that the Chinese or Indian counterparts of the Japanese companies Cambier likes – such as construction firm Komatsu – doubled last year and this year it could be the Japanese firms’ turn.
A recent trip to Japan convinced him to change the make-up of his portfolio. ‘When I came back from Japan I sold a lot of my Hong Kong equities and bought their Japanese equivalents. If I had a long short fund I would short China and go long Japan.’
Meanwhile, Cambier said he would buy sterling, which he thinks is undervalued and cheap, and he is still avoiding financials due to the unpredictability of western leaders.
‘Obama, Merkel and Sarkozy are the biggest risks, no-one knows what they will do,’ he said.