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from Global Investing:

Tokyo Sonata calls the tune for investors

The jury may be out on whether Messrs. Abe and Kuroda will succeed in cajoling the Japanese economy from its decades-long funk but the cash is betting they will. Domestic and foreign investors have stampeded for Tokyo equities, and Morgan Stanley has been crunching the numbers.

Since 2005, Japanese investors built up a 14 trillion yen (over $140 billion) portfolio of foreign equities. But between January-March 2013, they offloaded a third of this -- about $39 billion.  Going back to July 2012 when they first started bringing cash home, the Japanese have sold $53 billion in foreign equities, or 36 percent of equity holdings.

If one were to include all foreign portfolio investments, they sold a net $74 billion worth of assets in the first three months of 2013. Morgan Stanley says this is the the most since 2005. You can see their graphic below (click on it for a bigger version).

 

Not surprising then that the Nikkei has been on a roll with returns of  34 percent this year. Aside from the Japanese money, foreign cash has also flooded in -- foreigners have bought $23 billion worth of Japanese equities in the first two months of 2013, according to Japanese government data.  Broadly, that is a 7 percent rise in cumulative holdings. Asian investors' holdings alone have jumped 26 percent.

from Global Investing:

Asian bonds may suffer most if QE on ice

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Bonds issued in emerging market currencies have been red-hot favourites with investors this year, garnering returns of 8.3 percent so far in 2012. But for some the happy days are drawing to a close -- U.S. Treasury yields are nudging higher as the U.S. recovery gains a foothold and the Fed holds back from more money printing for now at least. That could spell trouble for emerging markets across the board (here's something I wrote on this subject recently) but, according to JP Morgan, it is Asian bond markets that may bear the brunt.

Their graphic details weekly flows to local bond funds as measured by EPFR Global (in million US$). As on cue, these flows have tended to spike whenever central banks have pumped in cash. (Click the graphic to enlarge.)

from Funds Hub:

Morning line-up: Harvard, Japan and bubbles

News and views on the fund industry from Reuters and elsewhere:

RTR1SGF8We still like cash - Reuters

The Twitterati take

Harvard SWF prop. deal on ice - Bloomberg

...while other prop. buyers head for Japan - Reuters

Know your bubbles - AllAboutAlpha

from Global Investing:

Zeitgeist check

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Some more bits and bobs to capture the current mood among investors:

-- MSCI's all-country world stock index has recaptured all of its 2009 losses and is now working on recouping last year's. It is up 6 percent for this year.

-- Fund researchers EPFR Global notes investors are moving at pace out of cash into emerging market equity and bond funds. In the week to May 6 a net $3.6 billion moved into various emerging stock funds. Money market (cash) funds saw outflows of $1.6 billion.

from Global Investing:

Reuters Funds Summit: Kingdom for a horse

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Anyone expecting investors to start galloping back into riskier assets in a rush might have something of a wait, according to Kathleen Hughes, who runs money funds for JPMorgan Asset Management in Europe. They are more likely to wander back in.

"Risk appetite returns in stages. It leaves on a horse but comes back on foot,"  she rather neatly told a Reuters funds summit being held in Luxembourg.

from Global Investing:

Desperately seeking yield

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Equities may be having a stop-start kind of month, but investors do seem to be more willing to take on risk than before. The latest numbers from EPFR Global, a tracker of investment flows, show high-yield bond funds raking in the money in the second week of January. A net $766 million flowed into the HY funds tracked by the firm. At the same time, a net $578 million flowed into U.S. municipal bond funds.

The drive behind these flows is a mix of a desperate search for yield and a belief that the risk might well be worth taking. Investment grade corporate debt is considered to be priced at Armageddon levels. That is, the price assumes too much trouble ahead than is likely. This has led, for example, to a monthly record in new bond issuance in January in Europe.

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