Sector analysis: Japan funds

Japan has been growing again, recent data shows. Its economic data for September has, in fact, been revised. Initially predicted at 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth, the revised figure showed the economy actually expanded 0.9 per cent during the period April to June 2013.

Interest in funds and the region may be down to the country’s newest prime minister, Shinzo Abe, whose aggressive economic measures – dubbed ‘Abenomics’ – has proved popular with many analysts.

The Table below shows the top and bottom five performers in the Japan sector, with returns based on an initial £1,000 investment as at 19 November. Of the 67-strong sector, no fund failed to return on its initial investment. The sector average for one year performance is £1,358.

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According to the latest figures from the Investment Management Association (IMA), Japan funds saw net retail sales of £28m in September, up from the £21m average for the previous 12 months.

The top performer comes from the £244.4m Legg Mason Japan Equity fund, managed by Hideo Shiozumi. The fund has been a consistent performer throughout 2013, and invests heavily in the healthcare and technology sectors. Based on an initial investment, the fund returned £1,708 over one year to 19 November.

At the other end of the Table, the worst performer is the Aberdeen Global Japanese Equity fund, which still managed to return £1,219. The JPY166.2bn (£1bn) fund is structured as a Sicav, and predominantly invests in consumer goods.

Top and bottom performing funds in the Japan sector based on an initial £1,000 investment
Top 5
Legg Mason Japan Equity A1,708
Neptune Japan Opportunities A1,655
IP Japan1,526
GLG Japan CoreAlpha Retail Acc1,464
Baillie Gifford Japanese A1,456
Bottom 5
Schroder Japan Alpha Plus Acc1,249
Aberdeen Japan Growth A1,245
Fidelity Japan Acc1,238
Scottish Widows HIFML Japanese Focus 11,232
Aberdeen Global Japanese Equity D21,219
Sector average1,358
Data one year to 19 November 2013. Source: Morningstar. Copyright: Money Management.