The Nikkei 225 passed 30,000 on Monday, the first time in over three decades that Japan’s blue-chip stock market index crossed that threshold. The long-awaited event was spurred by a series of positive news reports, and most analysts believe that more gains are in the offing.
But we should not kid ourselves, writes the JT Editorial Board: The market rebound is bound to fade as structural issues reassert themselves. A strong stock market is good for Japan, but more important is the health of the overall economy. That remains in doubt, the board argues.
While similarities exist between today and the bubble era, when the Nikkei last hit 30,000, analysts don’t expect a repeat of the monumental collapse that was to come. In many ways, it’s a whole different world today, reports Bloomberg, and not just because trades that then might have taken an hour now happen in milliseconds.
This time around, local investors have been playing a larger role in powering the rise. Although foreign investors are buying big in 2021, last year was the first time since 1989 that the Nikkei logged a double-digit gain amid net foreign selling. That’s challenging conventional wisdom that purchases by overseas investors are needed for the market to keep rising, Bloomberg notes.
Meanwhile, domestic investors have been notable in their absence from the GameStop trading frenzy that has shaken markets worldwide. What could be behind the reticence to ride that “Reddit rally”? More of a long-term vision? A lack of animal spirits? Or simply poor English proficiency?
“Japanese investors are fairly tame,” one market analyst tells Bloomberg. “If this was the 1980s, they’d be aggressively participating. But Japanese retail traders now work like institutional investors.” And perhaps that’s for the best.