Daiki Takayama Goldman Sachs
second team Fumihide Goto UBS
third team Takumi Sado Daiwa Institute
runners-up Manabu Akizuki Nomura; Masashi Itaya Credit Suisse; Masashi Kubota BofA–Merrill Lynch; Hisanori Shimoi Nikko Citi; Akihiko Uchino Mitsubishi UFJ
Daiki Takayama takes top honors for a fourth year running. The Goldman Sachs (Japan) analyst “is always working to gather the freshest angle to fashion into an investment idea,” explains one impressed client. Takayama, 37, told investors to dump their holdings in Alps Electric Co. in October, at ¥607, on concerns about the computer-keyboard maker’s unimpressive efforts to reduce its massive debt. The share price had sunk to ¥275 by late February, plunging 54.7 percent and lagging the sector by 29.8 percentage points. In second place for a third straight year is Fumihide Goto of UBS, who “provides both interesting and broad views on overall technology trends,” as one money manager puts it. In January 2008, Goto reiterated his sell recommendation on TDK Corp., citing overcapacity in the hard-disk-drive market. For the 12 months through February, TDK’s stock price fell 56.7 percent. Previously unranked Takumi Sado debuts in third place. The Daiwa Institute of Research analyst “has a lot of timely information,” says one happy investor. Sado highlighted his long-standing buy recommendation on Nidec Corp. in December, at ¥3,340, on the strength of the precision-motor manufacturer’s excellent management team. The stock surged 24.0 percent through late February, to ¥4,140.