This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

Kass: My 'Fast Money' Recap

The tipping point was 1990. In the 15 years that followed, amid crashing stock and property markets and mountains of debt, scores of corruption scandals, vast government deficits and stagnating growth, Japan mutated from being a giver of lessons to a recipient of lectures (which were all but ignored by the politicians).

It's hard to say that Japan isn't now cheap on a valuation basis -- the market sells at book value and at half of sales. In fact, one can make the case on valuation alone that the Nikkei is as cheap as the U.S. market was at its generational low in March 2009.

There is both a mystical and fundamental side to the bull case for Japan.

There is the mythology in Japan that the major earthquakes that have haunted the country have presaged major cultural and social changes:

  • The 1855 Tokyo earthquake marked the beginning of the end of 200 years of isolation; it was followed by a Japan that was more industrial and open to the world.
  • The 1923 quake signaled a new age of aggressive militarism and an obsession with Asian conquest that culminated in World War ll.
  • The Kobe earthquake of 1995 is thought by many to have signaled the end of the postwar industrial boom and marked the beginning of recession and deflation.
So, though possibly far-fetched, it is conceivable that the effects of the earthquake are analogous to creative destruction and could kick-start the lethargic Japanese economy and end the long period of stagnation.

The earthquake damage and the nuclear crisis led to an enormous supply shock. Electric power was rationed and ruined production facilities were shut down at a time during which Japanese companies had been paying down debt, but now companies are going to have to borrow money to rebuild. This could activate loan demand, and production shortages should narrow the output gap and maybe even trigger modest inflation.

Here are seven fundamental reasons for my optimism on investing in Japan:

  1. Expectations are low or nonexistent for the Japanese economy to turn around. Economic dislocations caused by the earthquake have threatened near-term GDP forecasts, but I reminded viewers that the U.S. stock market's generational low was achieved under similar economic uncertainty. Moreover, there is widespread optimism that the worldwide recovery will be smooth and self-sustaining -- as such, it could facilitate a meaningful improvement in Japanese exports.
  2. Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, the Japanese market is down by about 7% while the Morgan Stanley World Index is up smartly.
  3. The condition of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been stabilized.
  4. The electrical supply outlook has improved. According to Goldman Sachs, Tokyo Electric Power Company's electricity output by this summer should not force large-lot users to restrict electricity usage.
  5. The Japanese government appears to be implementing fiscal stimulus that is reasonable in scale and timely in policy. The Kan administration has submitted a first fiscal-year 2011 supplementary budget, and a second supplementary budget is expected by the end of June.
  6. Japan's monetary policy is market-friendly/economic-friendly. Base money growth has surged since the March nuclear accident. In mid-March, the Bank of Japan increased its asset purchase program, and in early April, the Bank of Japan announced a new loan program geared toward assisting financial institutions in their response to the likely increase in reconstruction funding demand.
  7. Finally, the post-recovery future for Japan will hopefully accelerate reforms (e.g., free trade agreements). It might also lead to accelerated production diversification (and more M&A activity) and rising demand for alternative energy technologies.
Let's go to the tape!

Doug Kass writes daily for RealMoney Silver , a premium bundle service from TheStreet.com. For a free trial to RealMoney Silver and exclusive access to Mr. Kass's daily trading diary, please click here.

At the time of publication, Kass and/or his funds were long EWJ, NMR and GS, although holdings can change at any time.

Doug Kass is the president of Seabreeze Partners Management Inc. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security.

2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
EWJ $12.35 0.00%
NMR $6.16 0.00%
AAPL $128.46 0.00%
FB $78.97 0.00%
GOOG $558.40 0.00%

Markets

DOW 18,132.70 -81.72 -0.45%
S&P 500 2,104.50 -6.24 -0.30%
NASDAQ 4,963.5270 -24.3630 -0.49%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs