James Dennin, Kapitall: Womenomics - making money and making babies - is the cure for the struggling Japanese economy. Wait. What? Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – the source of 'Abenomics' – rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. It was all part of a charm offensive to calm Western concerns about investing in a nation where a shrinking population, dwindling capital expenditure, and one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in human memory have stalled growth. [Read more from Kapitall: Alibaba IPO Coming to New York] Abe came to power with a pledge to turn Japan around, and return it to its glory days when the country emerged from post-war rubble to become a manufacturing powerhouse in a matter of decades. Manufacturing has been stalled in Japan, in part because Japanese workers now seem to make too much. Abenomics, or the set of economic policies that the Prime Minister has championed as part of his platform, has three prongs: monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, and structural reforms aimed at growth. In a prominent Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday, Abe revealed a fourth component of his plan: "Womenomics." His goal is to have more women in boardrooms by the Olympics in 2020 – saying that this will not only boost Japan's GDP – but also reverse the trend of declining fertility. Abe's plans are laudable in many respects, but he faces some pretty big obstacles:
- Japan is seen as an extremely conservative country.
- Corporate executives are slow to invest.
- Cultural norms can be hard to change.
Do you see investment opportunities in Japan? Use the list below as a starting point for your own analysis. 1. Canon Inc. ( CAJ): Manufactures and sells network copying machines, laser printers, inkjet printers, cameras, and lithography equipments in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Market cap at $36.83B, most recent closing price at $31.95. Forward P/E: 11.78.
2. Honda Motor Co., Ltd. ( HMC): Engages in the development, manufacture, and distribution of motorcycles, automobiles, and power products primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. Market cap at $70.22B, most recent closing price at $38.96. Forward P/E: 11.42.
3. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. ( NTT): Provides telecommunications services to residential and business customers in Japan. Market cap at $63.08B, most recent closing price at $26.73. Forward P/E: 9.09.
4. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. ( SMFG): Provides various banking and financial products and services in Asia and the Oceania, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Market cap at $68.64B, most recent closing price at $10.14. Forward P/E: 10.84.
5. Toyota Motor Corporation ( TM): Engages in the design, manufacture, assembly, and sale of passenger cars, minivans, and commercial vehicles. Market cap at $206.82B, most recent closing price at $130.56. Forward P/E: 10.13. ( List compiled by James Dennin, a Kapitall Writer. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research, all other data sourced from Finviz.)