International Stocks: We Look East To Japan
After years of earnings recession, improving corporate earnings and relatively low valuations are making overseas investments more attractive. For the all consternation over and discussion of geopolitical and macro-economic issues, what ultimately drives stocks everywhere are corporate earnings, and earnings almost everywhere are increasing. Furthermore, analysts’ estimates of future earnings have also been increasing, despite lingering uncertainties around the impact of the Brexit vote and the U.S. election. We have already seen a dramatic increase in earnings for emerging markets (EM) in 2016, while 2017 expectations for both EM and developed market stocks, as measured by the MSCI EAFE Index, continue to improve. The biggest positive surprise may be coming from Japan as its market climate restructures. Valuations are generally attractive on both an absolute and relative basis across most markets. We have been relatively constructive on EM for most of 2016 and are now looking at other international markets.