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Industries - Beverages, Food & Tobacco - First Team

Naomi Takagi UBS

The buy side says: “She supports her forecasts with reasonable assumptions and is not afraid to talk about risk.”

Naomi Takagi, who spent last year in the ­runner-up position, returns to the winner’s circle. Clients say the UBS analyst is “fast to respond” to questions, and offers “frank risk assessments” and “a broad, international-­marketplace scope.” They also praise her stock picking, citing Tokyo-­based Japan Tobacco as one example. Takagi, 44, urged investors to buy JT in June, at ¥288,800, on the belief that the cigarette maker’s shares had been oversold owing to supply-­line disruptions following the deadly Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The stock vaulted 49.6 percent, to ¥432,000, through February. Takagi follows 11 stocks and plans to increase coverage this year. She notes that many companies have ample cash but few use it wisely — and fewer still are committed to expanding overseas, buying back shares and increasing shareholder value. “These things should divide the winners and losers among companies,” she explains. Among the issues that Takagi will be monitoring throughout the year are Japan’s proposed entry into the Trans-­Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement among member nations, and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s plan to double Japan’s consumption tax, to 10 percent, by 2015. — Pam Baker

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