Tsutomu Fujita Nikko Citi
second team Hajime Kitano JPMorgan
third team Kazuhiro Miyake Daiwa Institute
runner-up Masatoshi Kikuchi BofAMerrill Lynch
Tsutomu Fujita, credited by one money manager with providing "a wide range of investment ideas," repeats in first place. In September the Nikko Citi strategist predicted that as Japanese businesses shifted their balance sheet management to international standards of mark-to-market accounting by 2010, large corporations with multiple subsidiaries would be more adversely affected in the near term than smaller companies. Among the names Fujita, 49, called on to underperform were trading company Mitsubishi Corp. and steelmaker JFE Holdings. Through February those companies trailed Japans broad market by 16.6 and 9.7 percentage points, respectively. Hajime Kitano of JPMorgan Securities Japan climbs one rung to second place. In December, Kitano noted that Japanese shares historically have been less sensitive than U.S. stocks to interest rate changes from their respective central banks, prompting foreign investors to prefer Japanese shares over U.S. shares during periods of rising interest rates. That trend began to change last year, and "if U.S. shares continue to show low rate-sensitivity, the significance of Japanese shares should decline," Kitano wrote, and foreign investors may not flock to Japanese equities the next time U.S. interest rates begin to rise. After four years in second place, Kazuhiro Miyake of Daiwa Institute of Research falls to third. Miyake unveiled a list of companies in May that he said had ample cash reserves to support big dividend payouts. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. was on Miyakes list, and in November the drugmaker announced that it would raise its annual dividend payment from ¥170 to ¥176 per share.