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Strategists Dismiss Nasdaq, Nikkei Wobbles

Stocks in this article: GILD

Nomura strategists see the March pullback in sectors such as biotech as a healthy correction. "As the US and global recovery broadens, growth-focused investors would enjoy a wider opportunity set -- and portfolio funds may be less channeled toward a narrow array of stocks," they said. Globally, the bank is positive on the outlook for financials, consumer discretionary, industrials and technology.

More broadly, many strategists are optimistic on the outlook for Japanese equities, even as questions linger over the effectiveness of structural reform in that economy. The Nikkei has shed around 10.7% this year after notching more than 52% last year, fueled by monetary and fiscal stimulus. Morris echoed the wide expectation that the Bank of Japan will act to further stimulate the domestic economy this year, but to a far lesser extent than in 2012/2013. This, combined with still-attractive valuations in Japanese equities and the possibility of some structural reforms achieving their aim, spelt solid upside for that market, he said. "We expect the U.S. market to return high single digits and the Japan to do better in local currency terms," Morris said.

Nomura strategists are also upbeat. "We continue to highlight Japanese stocks as likely beneficiaries of a better tone in US data as a firmer USD/JPY could offer a critical lift for the Nikkei," they said. "Japanese equities in recent weeks have not so much suffered a Japan problem as a US problem, that may now be falling by the wayside."

-- By Jane Searle in New York.

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