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Sectors: Autos

Tatsuo Yoshida, 50, of UBS rises one level to the top spot.

Tatsuo Yoshida UBS

second teamKota Yuzawa Goldman Sachs

third teamNoriyuki Matsushima Citi

Tatsuo Yoshida, 50, of UBS rises one level to the top spot. The UBS analyst elevated Honda Motor Co. to top pick in December 2008, at ¥1,685, on valuation. The stock zoomed 82.8 percent, to ¥3,080, and sped past the Topix transportation equipment index by 32 percentage points, through February 2010. A former Nissan Motor Co. executive who earned an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management in 1991, Yoshida is “excellent at reading senior management,” according to one ­money man­ager. He worked as an autos analyst at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co. before joining UBS in 2006.

Kota Yuzawa leaps from runner-­up to second place. The Goldman Sachs (Japan) analyst predicted last April that Toyota Motor Corp. would return to profitability by the end of the year, and he upgraded the stock from neutral to buy ahead of an anticipated rebound. The call produced mixed results. Toyota reported a surprise quarterly profit in November, but the Street was unimpressed. The stock continued to slide, slipping 4.7 percent from the time of the upgrade until early February, when Yuzawa down­graded it to neutral as the auto­maker announced massive recalls. Since then the stock moved roughly in line with the sector’s 5.4 percent loss, through the end of that month. “His call on Toyota’s earnings recovery was bold, though he held the recommendation too long,” explains one backer. Citi’s

Noriyuki ­Matsushima repeats in third place. In February 2009 he upgraded Nissan from sell to buy as irresistibly cheap at ¥275, citing the car maker’s solvency despite declining sales. Through February of this year, the share price more than doubled, to ¥705. “He made the right bullish call,” cheers one ­investor.

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