Takaki Nakanishi JPMorgan
second team Tatsuo Yoshida UBS
third team Noriyuki Matsushima Nikko Citi
runners-up Koji Endo Credit Suisse; Shotaro Noguchi Mitsubishi UFJ; Kota Yuzawa Goldman Sachs
Japans auto industry is going nowhere fast: In the 12 months through February, the Topix transportation equipment index plunged 45.9 percent. Through the stunning downturn, no analyst did a better job of covering the sector than Takaki Nakanishi of JPMorgan Securities Japan, who finishes in first place for a sixth straight year. Nakanishi downgraded Toyota Motor Corp. to neutral in April, on earnings pressure. By late February, Toyotas share price had tumbled 36.0 percent, 2.1 percentage points less than the sector. Nakanishi, 46, is a diligent analyst whose investment perspective is quite persuasive, says one satisfied client. Repeating in second place is Tatsuo Yoshida of UBS, who in May reiterated his long-standing bullish recommendation on Honda Motor Co., first recommended in 2006, on the strength of its expanding production capacity. By the end of February, Hondas shares were ahead of the sector by 14.6 percentage points. Yoshida offers a different perspective, marvels one buy-sider. Noriyuki Matsushima, who rises from runner-up to third, showed his value most in the past year, according to one impressed investor. One example: In September the Nikko Citi analyst downgraded Mazda Motor Corp. to sell, at ¥517, on declining sales. The stock had skidded 75.6 percent, to ¥126, by late February.