Hunt opportunity closer to home

Janus Henderson Asian Equities

Janus Henderson offers six different ways investors may capitalise on
Asia’s rise and earn their stripes.

Please click the fund name under the Important Information section for the key investment risks.

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Introduction

Buoyed by attractive valuations and favourable demographic conditions unique to the region, Asia’s growth is expected to remain resilient even against a backdrop of global uncertainty.

WHY ASIA?

The opportunities for consumption growth in Asia remain compelling relative to other regions, explains Andrew Gillan, Head of Asia ex Japan Equities and Portfolio Manager, Asian Growth strategy.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Andrew Gillan

How have Asian equities performed in 2019?

Asian equities have had a very strong start to 2019, which is in complete contrast to the way that 2018 ended, with a sharp selloff in equities globally. In terms of the macroeconomic factors, 2018 marked dollar strength and that wasn’t really positive for Asian and emerging market assets. Secondly, we had the headlines on the high level trade disputes and the risk of tariffs between the US and China, which really impacted market sentiment heavily.

So what's changed?

The key changes this year with regard to sentiment and Asian equities, first and foremost we’ve seen a change in the expectations for US interest rates. We’re no longer expecting a number of increases, so even if we do get one or maybe two increases, that’s a lot more measured than we were expecting six months ago, so already that’s more positive for emerging market assets, including Asia and risk assets generally.

The second key change is around the trade disputes. I think with the economic data globally slowing, what we’ve seen is less investment, investor sentiment and the sentiment of companies is much weaker and they haven't been willing to commit capital to new projects. Indirectly these trade tensions have impacted the global business sentiment, and certainly at times have impacted stock market sentiment in the US as well. I think we’re in a position where it's in the best interests of both sides to come to some sort of resolution, and already we've seen the deferral of the implementation of the second increase in tariffs, so we would expect some resolution in the coming months.

What is the case for Asia?

The fundamentals in the region haven't changed a huge amount over the last six months, so despite the huge swings in stock markets, the sell off last year and then a strong rebound this year, from a macroeconomic standpoint Asia looks fairly solid. Clearly the Chinese economy is slowing, and at the recent National People’s Congress Party the Chinese government committed to a range of 6 to 6.5% GDP growth, so that’s a slowdown relative to last year where they had a target of as high as 6.5%, but, again, in a global context that still looks very healthy. I think more concerning for us as fundamental investors is that earnings revisions have been negative, so we have seen some weakness in corporate earnings, but again not in the same context of the market falls that we saw in the fourth quarter and we are still expecting positive earnings growth for Asian companies this year relative to last year.

What is your outlook for the remainder of the year?

I think realistically the fact that we've seen markets make 10% just in the first 10 weeks of the year, clearly we can't expect that kind of momentum to continue. I think realistically we would expect some kind of volatility and some correction in the short term, particularly because of the macroeconomic data is slowing a little bit and corporate earnings have been disappointing a touch. We can't expect very strong markets in that environment, but for the longer term investor valuations remain quite attractive in Asia relative to developed markets. Growth is still more attractive and the thematic hasn’t changed, the demographics, the opportunities for consumption growth in Asia remain quite compelling relative to other regions globally.

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ASIA: SETTING ITSELF APART

Asia today stands out as a beacon of stability, according to Sat Duhra, Portfolio Manager, Asian Dividend Income strategy.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Sat Duhra

A global markets summary

The global macro environment is becoming quite complicated at this point. What we've seen is a pickup in global volatility and there's a number of reasons for that. The first thing is what's going on in the US right now. What we've seen is higher corporate leverage, companies doing buybacks. We've seen the fiscal deficit position widening out and all of those things have created volatility around the position or the Fed policy, so in terms of the growth and inflation outlook and also the US dollar.

Within Europe we’re starting to see economic growth slowing down, we’re seeing a number of issues there, Brexit of course being the primary issue there. Then outside of that we've also seen some political issues, some macro issues, but they’ve been mainly confined to outside of Asia. I think that’s the point about Asia is that with all this volatility going on, the political uncertainty, policy uncertainty, is that Asia stands out as a beacon of stability, which we haven't been able to say in previous years, but right now the politics looks very good, the macroeconomics looks very solid.

Most of the countries in Asia have a current account surplus. A large portion of the world’s foreign exchange reserves are also in Asia, so right now what we see is quite a stable macroeconomic picture in Asia, and that’s against a backdrop of greater volatility around the region outside of Asia.

What is your case for Asian equities?

So against that policy of macro backdrop, what we see in Asia is that valuations are also attractive, certainly relative to the developed markets, Asian valuations are certainly very attractive, but also an absolute basis as well. After a very tough period for Asian equities last year, we’re starting to see a very strong performance this year, but it's entirely justified by valuation and earnings outlook. The earnings outlook now is broadly in line with the US, valuations are certainly at a big discount. The ability of companies in Asia to pay dividends is far greater than any other region globally.

Why choose Asia for income?

The opportunity really is in dividend growth, this is the greatest opportunity globally that we see today. The potential for Asian companies to pay more dividends is very compelling at this point. The pay-out ratios are the lowest globally, but the rate of dividend increase, as we've seen in our recent study, is very strong, so if that continues we expect that pay-out ratios will continue to increase, and we think that dividends per share will continue for years to come.

High yield vs dividend growth

A particular focus for our strategy is to really focus on dividend growth, as opposed to a pure high yield strategy. Now, there are a couple of advantages of doing this. The first thing is that if you invest in just a high yield strategy, firstly you are buying quite expensive stocks, but more importantly you become very sensitive to moves in cash rates and bond yields. So as we've seen in the current environment it's been a positive, so bond yields in the US have come off, and bond proxy type stocks, high yield stocks have done well, but when things turn and growth comes back into fashion, then what we’ll see is that dividend growth stocks will perform much better.

Now, dividend growth stocks tend to be an all-weather strategy, they perform when markets are going well and when markets are doing badly as well. It becomes an alpha generating strategy by itself. These companies are increasing dividends despite the macroeconomic environment and that is very compelling. So owning companies with strong balance sheets, strong free cash flow, and the willingness to increase dividends, is something that will stand the fund in very good stead for the years to come.

How are you positioned in this environment?

Our focus still remains on China, and China is overweight for the strategy. It's an area where we see good valuations, it's an area where we see dividends increasing and the macroeconomic environment should be more stable into the second half of 2019.

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BREAKING DOWN WALLS IN CHINA

May Ling Wee, Portfolio Manager, Chinese Equities strategy, notes that private enterprise is becoming a more prominent contributor to the Chinese economy.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

May Ling Wee

How has your asset class performed so far?

It's been a sea change in performance and sentiment in the Chinese asset class, from being one of the worst performers in global emerging markets last year in 2018, domestic Chinese A shares have come back strongly this year. They’ve outperformed all other Asia Pacific markets. The Hong Kong listed Chinese companies have done well. They've underperformed the domestic markets, but also put in significant gains as well.

What has changed?

We ask ourselves what's changed from 2018 into 2019, and to us what comes top of mind is actually some signals towards resolution of the US-Sino trade wars. In the second half of 2018, business investment, private investment in China came to a standstill as the businessman in China didn't know what he was going to sell was going to get hit with another later of tariffs going into the US, so business sentiment and business investments came to a standstill. The Sino-US trade wars also impacted consumer sentiment heavily and spending also slowed significantly in the consumption segment in China as well.

Secondly, what's been quite positive this year is in terms of liquidity in the Chinese domestic stock market because of recognition by MSCI that they would raise the inclusion factor for domestic A shares from 5 to 20%. This is significant in terms of inflows into the market, but also in terms of improving liquidity, stock market turnover. It's also brought on the domestic retail investors to come and participate in the domestic market, so that’s been a good change in terms of the liquidity environment in the Chinese domestic asset class. Lastly, apart from what’s happened on the global macro front, domestic policies have also shown to be quite pro-growth. At NPC this year in March, the government has detailed their plans for easier credit conditions to the private sector, the small medium enterprise in China, which was actually starved of credit last year in 2018.

This is quite significant because the private sector is a big contributor to jobs in China, it's a big contributor to GDP in China as well. Secondly, also fiscal policy, tax cuts have been better than the markets expectations, and this again provides relief to the manufacturing sector and the small medium enterprise in China. Credit conditions are always very important in China because they do drive economic activity, and as they drive economic activity corporate earnings actually improve.

What we've seen in generally low numbers, generally low numbers have come back, this is a first step towards improvement and we're waiting for March numbers to determine whether the credit conditions improve on a sustained basis. This ultimately drives economic growth and drives corporate earnings as well.

How are Chinese stocks currently valued?

I'd say overall valuations are attractive relative to the global emerging markets. Also, in terms of growth expectations and growth rates in China, certain segments of the Chinese economy, certain sub segments can continue to deliver growth at a reasonably quick rate. We've seen this and this is really driven by the domestic Chinese consumer spending power. The middle class consumer is getting richer. He is getting more discerning in terms of the goods and services he wants and he is willing to pay up for differentiator products. This will continue to drive the companies who provide the right products and services into this consumer class in China.

Secondly, also there are companies in China who continue to be technology innovators. Over time they continue to invest R&D, they have a large engineering pool of resources to draw in in China, and they also have the private entrepreneurs willingness to stake his capital and have his skin in the game as well. So it's a confluence of these factors that provide companies the technology innovators to grow over time. With the right products and services they create new segments for themselves, for their customers, both on the consumer side and on the business side, and over time they become more entrenched with their customers, so this creates their opportunity for growth.

What's one fact investors today might not know about China?

Today your economy, your market is driven a lot by private enterprise, so the makeup of the market has changed. So when someone says I don’t want to invest in China because it's driven by the state, it's actually a wrong misconception that, no, your state doesn't create that many jobs, your state owned companies don't create that much of a contribution to GDP, it's actually your private sector. Those are the ones that have been neglected because they haven't been able to get financing last year from the banks in China.

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Asian Growth

Asia’s consumption theme especially potent when combined with technology and innovation

There are many high quality technology and innovation driven companies here in Asia... the potential for compounding investment returns is very high."

Mervyn Koh, Portfolio Manager, Asian Growth strategy

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Mervyn Koh

How is the Asian growth strategy currently positioned?

We are fundamental stock pickers, focusing on companies which offer structural growth opportunities and potential. We believe the recent heightened market volatility is here to stay, especially in Chinese equities. We maintain our exposure in China through new economy stocks as well as privately held enterprises, as we believe that minority shareholders interests are better aligned with the majority owners of the businesses.

With the inclusion of the A-shares in MSCI indices, we believe it is a matter of ‘when’ but not ‘if’ that this is going to increase further. The fund maintains exposure in A-shares through a couple of stocks in the consumer and technology sectors.

Beyond China, where else do you see opportunity?

Another country that we like is India. The fund maintains an exposure in India through privately run financial institutions as well as a couple of software services, technology companies. We find these companies extremely cash generative and are comfortable with their growth profile.

Are you reducing exposure to any markets?

We have been gradually reducing our overweight in Taiwan, primarily due to concerns on the Apple supply chain. We are in a region where 60% of the world population reside, with China and India accounting for almost a third of the world’s population, so very logically the consumption theme is a big investment theme for the region.

What are some investment ideas unique to Asia?

The Janus Henderson Asian Growth strategy looks for companies which are inherently technology and innovation driven. These are not confined to the traditional technology companies, but also would include the more traditional banking and insurance sectors.

What’s the investment case for Asia?

There are many high quality technology and innovation driven companies here in Asia. We add that to a backdrop of a long runway for growth, as well as a large domestic consumer market, we believe that the potential for compounding investment returns is very high.

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Asia ex Japan: resilient and still a driver of global growth

For the longer term investor, valuations remain quite attractive in Asia relative to developed markets and growth is still more attractive."

Andrew Gillan, Head of Asia ex Japan Equities and Portfolio Manager, Asian Growth strategy

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Andrew Gillan

How have Asian equities performed in 2019?

Asian equities have had a very strong start to 2019, which is in complete contrast to the way that 2018 ended, with a sharp selloff in equities globally. In terms of the macroeconomic factors, 2018 marked dollar strength and that wasn’t really positive for Asian and emerging market assets. Secondly, we had the headlines on the high level trade disputes and the risk of tariffs between the US and China, which really impacted market sentiment heavily.

So what's changed?

The key changes this year with regard to sentiment and Asian equities, first and foremost we’ve seen a change in the expectations for US interest rates. We’re no longer expecting a number of increases, so even if we do get one or maybe two increases, that’s a lot more measured than we were expecting six months ago, so already that’s more positive for emerging market assets, including Asia and risk assets generally.

The second key change is around the trade disputes. I think with the economic data globally slowing, what we’ve seen is less investment, investor sentiment and the sentiment of companies is much weaker and they haven't been willing to commit capital to new projects. Indirectly these trade tensions have impacted the global business sentiment, and certainly at times have impacted stock market sentiment in the US as well. I think we’re in a position where it's in the best interests of both sides to come to some sort of resolution, and already we've seen the deferral of the implementation of the second increase in tariffs, so we would expect some resolution in the coming months.

What is the case for Asia?

The fundamentals in the region haven't changed a huge amount over the last six months, so despite the huge swings in stock markets, the sell off last year and then a strong rebound this year, from a macroeconomic standpoint Asia looks fairly solid. Clearly the Chinese economy is slowing, and at the recent National People’s Congress Party the Chinese government committed to a range of 6 to 6.5% GDP growth, so that’s a slowdown relative to last year where they had a target of as high as 6.5%, but, again, in a global context that still looks very healthy. I think more concerning for us as fundamental investors is that earnings revisions have been negative, so we have seen some weakness in corporate earnings, but again not in the same context of the market falls that we saw in the fourth quarter and we are still expecting positive earnings growth for Asian companies this year relative to last year.

What is your outlook for the remainder of the year?

I think realistically the fact that we've seen markets make 10% just in the first 10 weeks of the year, clearly we can't expect that kind of momentum to continue. I think realistically we would expect some kind of volatility and some correction in the short term, particularly because of the macroeconomic data is slowing a little bit and corporate earnings have been disappointing a touch. We can't expect very strong markets in that environment, but for the longer term investor valuations remain quite attractive in Asia relative to developed markets. Growth is still more attractive and the thematic hasn’t changed, the demographics, the opportunities for consumption growth in Asia remain quite compelling relative to other regions globally.

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Janus Henderson Horizon Asian Growth Fund

  • A high-conviction, multi-cap research-driven Asia ex Japan portfolio managed without significant constraints at sector or country levels.
  • Portfolios are constructed using a core of quality stocks to reduce volatility, with an allocation to dynamic stocks to diversify sources of excess returns and improve upside potential.
  • Asia-based team with direct access to first hand and local knowledge.

Asian Dividend Income

Asia’s dividend growth rate is possibly one of the most compelling investment trends today

The ability of companies in Asia to pay dividends is far greater than in any other region globally."

Sat Duhra, Portfolio Manager, Asian Dividend Income strategy

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Sat Duhra

A global markets summary

The global macro environment is becoming quite complicated at this point. What we've seen is a pickup in global volatility and there's a number of reasons for that. The first thing is what's going on in the US right now. What we've seen is higher corporate leverage, companies doing buybacks. We've seen the fiscal deficit position widening out and all of those things have created volatility around the position or the Fed policy, so in terms of the growth and inflation outlook and also the US dollar.

Within Europe we’re starting to see economic growth slowing down, we’re seeing a number of issues there, Brexit of course being the primary issue there. Then outside of that we've also seen some political issues, some macro issues, but they’ve been mainly confined to outside of Asia. I think that’s the point about Asia is that with all this volatility going on, the political uncertainty, policy uncertainty, is that Asia stands out as a beacon of stability, which we haven't been able to say in previous years, but right now the politics looks very good, the macroeconomics looks very solid.

Most of the countries in Asia have a current account surplus. A large portion of the world’s foreign exchange reserves are also in Asia, so right now what we see is quite a stable macroeconomic picture in Asia, and that’s against a backdrop of greater volatility around the region outside of Asia.

What is your case for Asian equities?

So against that policy of macro backdrop, what we see in Asia is that valuations are also attractive, certainly relative to the developed markets, Asian valuations are certainly very attractive, but also an absolute basis as well. After a very tough period for Asian equities last year, we’re starting to see a very strong performance this year, but it's entirely justified by valuation and earnings outlook. The earnings outlook now is broadly in line with the US, valuations are certainly at a big discount. The ability of companies in Asia to pay dividends is far greater than any other region globally.

Why choose Asia for income?

The opportunity really is in dividend growth, this is the greatest opportunity globally that we see today. The potential for Asian companies to pay more dividends is very compelling at this point. The pay-out ratios are the lowest globally, but the rate of dividend increase, as we've seen in our recent study, is very strong, so if that continues we expect that pay-out ratios will continue to increase, and we think that dividends per share will continue for years to come.

High yield vs dividend growth

A particular focus for our strategy is to really focus on dividend growth, as opposed to a pure high yield strategy. Now, there are a couple of advantages of doing this. The first thing is that if you invest in just a high yield strategy, firstly you are buying quite expensive stocks, but more importantly you become very sensitive to moves in cash rates and bond yields. So as we've seen in the current environment it's been a positive, so bond yields in the US have come off, and bond proxy type stocks, high yield stocks have done well, but when things turn and growth comes back into fashion, then what we’ll see is that dividend growth stocks will perform much better.

Now, dividend growth stocks tend to be an all-weather strategy, they perform when markets are going well and when markets are doing badly as well. It becomes an alpha generating strategy by itself. These companies are increasing dividends despite the macroeconomic environment and that is very compelling. So owning companies with strong balance sheets, strong free cash flow, and the willingness to increase dividends, is something that will stand the fund in very good stead for the years to come.

How are you positioned in this environment?

Our focus still remains on China, and China is overweight for the strategy. It's an area where we see good valuations, it's an area where we see dividends increasing and the macroeconomic environment should be more stable into the second half of 2019.

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Janus Henderson Horizon Asian Dividend Income Fund

  • Concentrated portfolio reflects the managers’ best ideas. Around half of the holdings are quality, high-yielding companies with sustainable earnings, cash flows and attractive valuations.
  • Selective use of derivatives to enhance income.
  • Generate returns through income and long-term capital appreciation.

Latest insights

China

China’s private sector plays a key role

When someone says ‘I don’t want to invest in China because it’s driven by the State,’ it’s actually a misconception."

May Ling Wee, Portfolio Manager, Chinese Equities strategy

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

May Ling Wee

How has your asset class performed so far?

It's been a sea change in performance and sentiment in the Chinese asset class, from being one of the worst performers in global emerging markets last year in 2018, domestic Chinese A shares have come back strongly this year. They’ve outperformed all other Asia Pacific markets. The Hong Kong listed Chinese companies have done well. They've underperformed the domestic markets, but also put in significant gains as well.

What has changed?

We ask ourselves what's changed from 2018 into 2019, and to us what comes top of mind is actually some signals towards resolution of the US-Sino trade wars. In the second half of 2018, business investment, private investment in China came to a standstill as the businessman in China didn't know what he was going to sell was going to get hit with another later of tariffs going into the US, so business sentiment and business investments came to a standstill. The Sino-US trade wars also impacted consumer sentiment heavily and spending also slowed significantly in the consumption segment in China as well.

Secondly, what's been quite positive this year is in terms of liquidity in the Chinese domestic stock market because of recognition by MSCI that they would raise the inclusion factor for domestic A shares from 5 to 20%. This is significant in terms of inflows into the market, but also in terms of improving liquidity, stock market turnover. It's also brought on the domestic retail investors to come and participate in the domestic market, so that’s been a good change in terms of the liquidity environment in the Chinese domestic asset class. Lastly, apart from what’s happened on the global macro front, domestic policies have also shown to be quite pro-growth. At NPC this year in March, the government has detailed their plans for easier credit conditions to the private sector, the small medium enterprise in China, which was actually starved of credit last year in 2018.

This is quite significant because the private sector is a big contributor to jobs in China, it's a big contributor to GDP in China as well. Secondly, also fiscal policy, tax cuts have been better than the markets expectations, and this again provides relief to the manufacturing sector and the small medium enterprise in China. Credit conditions are always very important in China because they do drive economic activity, and as they drive economic activity corporate earnings actually improve.

What we've seen in generally low numbers, generally low numbers have come back, this is a first step towards improvement and we're waiting for March numbers to determine whether the credit conditions improve on a sustained basis. This ultimately drives economic growth and drives corporate earnings as well.

How are Chinese stocks currently valued?

I'd say overall valuations are attractive relative to the global emerging markets. Also, in terms of growth expectations and growth rates in China, certain segments of the Chinese economy, certain sub segments can continue to deliver growth at a reasonably quick rate. We've seen this and this is really driven by the domestic Chinese consumer spending power. The middle class consumer is getting richer. He is getting more discerning in terms of the goods and services he wants and he is willing to pay up for differentiator products. This will continue to drive the companies who provide the right products and services into this consumer class in China.

Secondly, also there are companies in China who continue to be technology innovators. Over time they continue to invest R&D, they have a large engineering pool of resources to draw in in China, and they also have the private entrepreneurs willingness to stake his capital and have his skin in the game as well. So it's a confluence of these factors that provide companies the technology innovators to grow over time. With the right products and services they create new segments for themselves, for their customers, both on the consumer side and on the business side, and over time they become more entrenched with their customers, so this creates their opportunity for growth.

What's one fact investors today might not know about China?

Today your economy, your market is driven a lot by private enterprise, so the makeup of the market has changed. So when someone says I don’t want to invest in China because it's driven by the state, it's actually a wrong misconception that, no, your state doesn't create that many jobs, your state owned companies don't create that much of a contribution to GDP, it's actually your private sector. Those are the ones that have been neglected because they haven't been able to get financing last year from the banks in China.

Less

Warming domestic policy and US-Sino relations a potential boost for China stocks

Chinese equities are back to being unloved and pretty cheap, that’s quite a nice starting point for any equity market rally."

Charlie Awdry, Portfolio Manager, Chinese Equities strategy

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Charlie Awdry

How has the Chinese equity market performed?

Okay. So, we’ve had quite a rally in China, driven by a few things. I suppose internationally there’s been somewhat easing in the tension between China and the US on trade friction. That’s been helpful. I think a lot of investors have been waiting for some good news on that. The other thing we’ve had is obviously in the US the Fed’s gone back to being on pause on interest rates and that is obviously good for emerging market borrowers. It’s probably good for sentiment in emerging markets and that’s helped and then domestically in China I think investors have moved from thinking about glass half empty of a slowing economy to the glass half full of more monetary and fiscal policy easing to support equity markets. So, probably those two things balancing out.

How is the portfolio positioned?

Yes, we haven’t changed a huge amount. I suppose after the market was selling off in 2018 we started to buy back into some of the more fashionable growth shares. Most people in... who invest most probably know about Ali Baba, about Tencent, those Chinese internet companies. You know, we were adding to our positions in those at the end of last year because, frankly, they fell from being pretty expensive to being sort of growth at a reasonable price. So, we’ve added back to that growth end of the market but longer term we’re still looking at services, we’re looking at consumer and those have kind of always been present in our portfolios.

Are there any investment ideas unique to your asset class?

Well, I suppose Chinese equities is quite unique in itself but obviously we’ve had much more interest in Asia, so those are domestically traded shares in Shanghai and Shenzhen and they’re now accessible through Connect and they’re being put into the benchmarks of many of the industry’s providers. So, that’s probably unique to us. That provides certain sectors. So, there’s a liquor sector called Baijiu which is only accessible through that market, so that would be one, but also I think, generally speaking, you know, anything really domestic in China you need to get exposure to through domestic Chinese companies.

What is the outlook for Chinese equities?

So, I suppose the main thing is that Chinese equities are back to being unloved and pretty cheap. That’s quite a nice starting point for any equity market rally and you can see, unfortunately, in China it’s quite emotional so you get very extreme positioning. We’ve seen some closing of extreme positions, I suppose, on the sort of negative side. And now that there’s a more positive relationship between the US and China, perhaps people will engage.

I think that’s helpful. You’re also seeing a lot of policy support by the government and in time we’ll see that pick in terms of feeding through to the economy and probably to equity ownership as well. So, I think those two things are quite supportive for 2019.

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Janus Henderson Horizon China Fund

  • Managed by Charlie Awdry and May Ling Wee with combined experience of more than 30 years’ investing in China.
  • Actively-managed equity fund designed to deliver long-term capital growth from the dynamic Chinese economy.
  • Long/short strategy: in addition to long-only positions, the fund may short individual stocks.

Asia-Pacific Property

Technological advances changing the way investors view real estate stocks

Real estate is generally seen as a traditional, old economy asset class, but it has actually evolved with time as well."

Xin Yan Low, Associate Portfolio Manager, Asia-Pacific Property Equities strategy

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Xin Yan Low

What is your take on the global macro environment?

Yes, the global markets have actually been fairly volatile, especially in the recent years, with events such as more recently Brexit, as well as tensions regarding the potential trade wars dictating big swings in market directions.

What’s the case for Asian property equities?

As an asset class it actually gives a pretty attractive income proposition for investors in terms of growing earnings as well as dividends. In particular in Asia, rates here actually have one of the highest yields as well as use spreads as compared to some of the US as well as European counterparts. In terms of physical real estate market cycles, where we are now in Asia, we’re actually seeing selective countries, as well as asset classes, which are in the recovery phase. For example, in Singapore, having been through a downturn, we have seen the commercial and industrial sectors bottomed out and going into the recovery phase. In these sectors we actually see potential for rental increases going forward, which puts us in a good place to see that feed through to company earnings growth.

What themes are shaping the way you invest today?

Technological advances have actually changed the way that we live as well as work. Real estate is generally seen as a traditional old economy asset class, but it has actually evolved with time as well. If you think about the growing or the rise of e-commerce and that taking share away from retail, much has been talked about the death of malls, for example. What we try to do is to actively keep pace with these growing trends and position our portfolio accordingly. In the recent years what we have done is to be very selective in terms of our holdings of retail landlords, as they face pressures from the shift of shoppers moving from shopping physically to online shopping.

On the flipside of that trade is the growth of e-commerce has led to the rise of logistics being a more attractive asset class than it has ever been. Within our portfolio now you can see a big shift in terms of our weightage towards asset classes, with a significant underweight in retail, but a big overweight in industrial landlords.

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Janus Henderson Horizon Asia-Pacific Property Equities Fund

  • High conviction, multi-cap approach to capture opportunities in large stocks, as well as seeking value in small and midcaps.
  • Janus Henderson has managed direct property assets since the 1960s, and has built a successful track record in global property equity funds since 1997.
  • Regional managers and analysts based in Europe, Asia and North America provide valuable local expertise.

Latest insights

The king is dead long live the king | Janus Henderson Investors

“Don’t you, forget about me”

September 13, 2019

​​Guy Barnard and Nicolas Scherf, Co-Managers of the Janus Henderson Horizon Pan European Property Equities Fund, highlight that, while newsflow in Europe and the property sector has been mixed over recent months, the fundamentals for the European property equities market remain robust, with increasing value to be found for the active investor.

The silver tsunami: can REITS help you ride the wave?

March 20, 2019

‘Real Matters’ provides the latest insights and thoughts from the Janus Henderson Global Property Equities Team. In the fourth article in the series, Tim Gibson, Guy Barnard and Greg Kuhl discuss the issue of an ageing population and how REITs can provide a way to capitalise on this demographic trend.

The king is dead long live the king | Janus Henderson Investors

REITS – “What have you done for me lately?”

February 4, 2019

​‘Real Matters’ provides the latest insights and thoughts from the Janus Henderson Global Property Equities Team. In the third article in the series, Tim Gibson and Guy Barnard, Co-Heads of Global Property Equities, discuss the recent performance of REITs and the diversification benefits they can provide.

Japan

Japanese equities: a long runway for growth

I do not think the market is paying enough attention to the evolution of Japanese companies."

Junichi Inoue, Head of Japanese Equities and Portfolio Manager, Japan Opportunities strategy

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Junichi Inoue

How has Japanese stocks performed year to date?

On YTD basis, Japan has underperformed other developed markets by a large margin. While US, Europe and other major markets in Asia returned 10% to 15% YTD1, making up large portion of losses in Q4 last year, Japan has only done half of this. This is probably due to market’s perception that Japan is highly economic sensitive. This is partly true and capex related sectors such as machinery and semi-conductor equipment are going through earnings contraction. However, we believe the market as a whole can continue to grow by at least mid-single digit.

What does this mean for global investors?

This has created an opportunity for global investors. Stock market is now traded at 13x to forward EPS2, which is a large discounts to other developed market. The market seems to have discounted peak out of economic cycle only for Japan, which we strongly disagree. If you believe that global economy can continue to grow, then owning Japanese stocks is one of the cheapest ways to benefit.

What’s an overlooked fact about Japanese markets today?

I do not think the market is paying enough attention to evolution of Japanese companies. I have been managing this asset class since 1998 and I am very excited by the fact that companies have become much more strategic and focused to create shareholders’ value. There are many examples of transformational deals such as large scale business tie-ups and M&As. It is very important for stock picking. In terms of payout, the level of dividend has increased by 50% over the past five years3, which is much faster than eps growth. Unlike other major markets, issue with Japan is still low leverage and we have seen many examples of large size buybacks in recent weakness. Corporates are also saying market is too cheap.

What is your outlook for Japanese stocks?

In summary, I like to highlight three reasons to be positive on Japan. First of all, as we discussed, market is very cheap despite progress of Japanese companies. Secondly, unlike anywhere else in the world, political environment is stable. But we need catalysts for revaluation and this is our third point. We are hosting major sporting events such as Rugby World Cup this year and Tokyo Olympics in 2020. I believe many of you will have chance to visit Japan. These will not only create extra demand but also can be a trigger for revaluation as all eyes focus on these events.

1Source: Bloomberg, as of 1 April 2019
2Source: Bloomberg, as of 1 April 2019
3Source: Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index Edition 21, data sourced by Janus Henderson Investors as of 31 December 2018

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The sun rises again

Janus Henderson’s Japanese equities portfolio managers believe the worse of 2018’s market route to be over and that investors have many reasons to consider Japan today.

Japan Markets today

Junichi Inoue, Head of Japanese Equities and Portfolio Manager, Japan Opportunities strategy

One outcome from 2018’s market route had been depressed Japanese stock valuations. Today, Japanese cyclical growth stocks are regarded to be generally well-priced, with many companies trading on high single digit to low teen multiples. The belief is that these names will be re-rated once the market becomes more comfortable with Japan’s outlook. This is positive since the medium to long term thesis for Japan today is being buoyed by several factors, and while it is true that Japan is highly sensitive to the global economy, our observation is that several key developments have led Japan to be better placed to mitigate any negative global market impact.

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Firstly, Japan’s political environment appears to have stabilised with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s September 2018 election victory as President of the Liberal Democratic Party. Following a brief period rocked by scandal and uncertainty, last September’s win cemented a further three year term for the pro-market Abe and returned a measure of stability and predictability which had been missing from the market following the Prime Minister’s implication in a land sales scandal. In addition, the government has also pledged to increase spending to avoid any negative impact stemming from a consumption tax hike slated for October 2019. They plan to do so through a ¥2 trillion stimulus package designed to encourage consumers to use cashless payment methods as well as making shopping vouchers available to households with small children or low incomes.

It is also worth mentioning that we are seeing the fruits of corporate reform that took root among Japanese corporates a few years back. Total dividends paid by Japanese companies to shareholders increased significantly over the past years, providing good downside support to the market. For the first time in Japan, investors are getting paid to wait.

Finally, we believe the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will not only create extra demand, but also put more pressure on the labour market. We predict this may end the decades of deflation that has inflicted Japan since the 90s.

Risk/Outlook

We believe the risk-reward profile in Japan today to be attractive. The year-to-date recovery we previously anticipated is materialising and markets pricing mechanisms are normalising at the time of writing, rewarding us for risks previously taken. And while the market is discounting a recession, we believe that earnings-per-share for Topix-listed companies will continue to grow for the remainder of 2019 as well as 2020. Indeed an intensifying trade war and a rapid appreciation of the yen could potentially derail recovery, but our view is much of this has already been priced in to share prices today.

As always, we believe stock selection to be key in these times of uncertainty, as are attention to valuation and management quality. Based on these criteria, we will continue in our goal of delivering returns to our clients.

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The case for Japanese Smaller Companies

Yunyoung Lee, Portfolio Manager, Japanese Smaller Companies strategy

Japanese small cap stocks also look set to benefit from deflated valuations, Abenomics and global-scale sporting events that are poised to boost large cap equities.

These companies also tend to be more domestically focused and in that respect, are generally more protected from external macroeconomic ripples compared to their larger, more globally-exposed counterparts. Smaller companies also stand to gain more from a domestic recovery in corporate capital expenditure and domestic consumption than larger companies, however, a weakened yen could lead to the outperformance of more globally-exposed larger companies at the expense of largely domestic-focused small caps.

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Unlike large caps, the asset class continues to be one of the most under-researched amongst developed countries, greatly increasing the opportunity for a discerning active manager to unearth gems.

In order to discover these companies, our stock-selection strategy involves visiting each company we invest in and speaking directly to management to form the basis of an investment view. The sentiment from these conversations is then reflected in the portfolio.

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Janus Henderson Horizon Japan Opportunities Fund

  • Highly concentrated portfolio reflects the managers’ best ideas. These stocks are selected by leveraging the Japan equities team’s extensive research process together with shared insight from other Janus Henderson investment teams.
  • Janus Henderson has run Japanese equity funds since 1974. The Japanese equities team, combined, boasts more than half a century of experience of researching and managing Japanese stocks.
  • An unconstrained portfolio in terms of company size and sector. Focus is on medium term earnings forecasts with a strict valuation discipline to identify undervalued opportunities.

Janus Henderson Horizon Japanese Smaller Companies Fund

  • Concentrated portfolio with integrated risk control and liquidity management.
  • Style neutral and focuses on stock valuation, catalyst and/or structural growth.
  • The fund invests in stock that fall within the bottom 25% of the Japanese equity market in terms of market capitalization.

Latest insights

Japanese companies promising in 2019

December 3, 2018

Yunyoung Lee, portfolio manager for the Japanese smaller companies strategy, says strong fundamentals relative to other developed markets mean prospects for Japanese companies should remain good into 2019.

Japanese equities: snap election opportunity may strengthen Abenomics

September 26, 2017

Junichi Inoue, Janus Henderson Head of Japanese Equities, provides his team’s views on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent announcement of a snap election and its potential implications for Japanese investors.

Meet the team

Andrew Gillan | Janus Henderson Investors

Andrew Gillan
Head of Asia ex Japan Equities

Headshot-featured_Junichi-Inoue

Junichi Inoue

Head of Japanese Equities

Headshot-thumbnail_Tim-Gibson

Tim Gibson

Co-Head of Global Property Equities

Mike Kerley | Janus Henderson Investors

Michael Kerley

Director of Asia Pacific Equities

Sat Duhra | Janus Henderson Investors

Sat Duhra

Portfolio Manager, Asian Dividend Income

Mervyn Koh, CFA | Janus Henderson Investors

Mervyn Koh

Portfolio Manager, Asian Growth

Charlie Awdry, CFA | Janus Henderson Investors

Charlie Awdry

Portfolio Manager, Chinese Equities

May Ling Wee, CFA | Janus Henderson Investors

May Ling Wee

Portfolio Manager, Chinese Equities

Xin Yan Low | Janus Henderson Investors

Xin Yan Low

Associate Portfolio Manager, Asia-Pacific Property Equities

Yunyoung Lee, CFA | Janus Henderson Investors

Yunyoung Lee

Portfolio Manager, Japanese Equities

Headshot-featured_Suzuki-Yusuke

Yusuke Suzuki

Analyst, Japanese Equities

Headshot-thumbnail_Julius-Bai

Julius Bai

Analyst, Asia ex Japan Equities

Headshot-thumbnail_Soo Ho-Jung

Soo Ho Jung

Analyst, Asia ex Japan Equities

LiAn Pan, CFA | Janus Henderson Investors

Lian Pan

Analyst, Asia ex Japan Equities

John Teng | Janus Henderson Investors

John Teng

Analyst, Asia ex Japan Equities

James Zhang, CFA | Janus Henderson Investors

James Zhang

Analyst, Asia ex Japan Equities

Important information

This website is for financial promotion purposes and is not investment advice.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it may go down as well as up and you may lose the amount originally invested.

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