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Fund divests of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, curbs a slew of other holdings

The Hennessy Japan Fund (Trades, Portfolio) disclosed its trades for the second quarter last week.

Managed by Masakazu Takeda and Yu Shimizu, the fund, which is part of California-based Hennessy Advisors, invests in a concentrated number of high-quality Japanese companies. The portfolio managers look for value opportunities among companies that have good management, a strong balance sheet with little to no debt, a durable competitive advantage, a high return on equity, strong cash flow generation and above-average earnings growth.

Based on these criteria, the fund exited its position in Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (TSE:8306) and trimmed

102 Views    Sydnee Gatewood    2020-07-07 16:40
Guru stock highlight

In the IT and services sector, our overweight position in SoftBank (TSE:9984) contributed the most to relative performance. The telecommunications and internet conglomerate suffered sharp losses amid the coronavirus panic of the first quarter as investors grew skeptical about the outlook for its technology holdings, including office-sharing firm WeWork and ride-hailer Uber. Shares recouped their losses in April, however, as the company continued to sell assets and buy back stock to reduce the discount at which it trades relative to the value of its assets. (Please refer to the fund’s portfolio of investments for a complete list of

34 Views    Sydnee Gatewood    2020-06-19 19:00
Discussion of markets and holdings

Dear Shareholder,

Global markets experienced extraordinary volatility during the first half of your fund’s fiscal year, the six-month period ended April 30, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus led to the shutdown of significant portions of most major economies. After reaching record highs, stocks recorded their steepest declines since the global financial crisis a decade ago, while demand for safe-haven securities sent Treasury yields to all-time lows.

As a result of the improving trade situation between the U.S. and China and central bank stimulus, the outlook for 2020 appeared promising. However, market sentiment began to shift in January amid

50 Views    Sydnee Gatewood    2020-06-19 18:42
Firms' largest sales of 2020 1st quarter

Ken Fisher's (Trades, Portfolio) Fisher Asset Management, LLC sold shares of the following stocks during the first quarter of 2020.


Fisher trimmed the Pfizer Inc. (PFE) holding by 87.99%. The portfolio was impacted by -1.58%.


The pharmaceutical firm has a market cap of $210.31 billion and an enterprise value of $252.95 billion.

GuruFocus gives the company a profitability and growth rating of 8 out of 10. The return on equity of 26.24% and return on assets of 10.06% are outperforming

212 Views    Tiziano Frateschi    2020-04-29 15:29
Sony Corporation tops the list

These large-caps appear to be undervalued as of Jan. 29, 2020, as their trailing 12-month price-earnings ratios are less than 20 and their price-earnings to growth (aka PEG) ratios stand below 1.0.

Wall Street sell-side analysts have also recommended positive ratings for the following stocks.


The first company that meets the above-listed criteria is Sony Corporation (SNE). Shares of the Japanese global consumer electronics company traded at $71.80 at close on Jan. 29 for a market capitalization of $86.5 billion.

The price-earnings ratio is 11.54 versus the industry median of 19.91 and the PEG ratio is 0.53 versus the

129 Views    Alberto Abaterusso    2020-01-30 16:59
Tokenization has the potential to expand access to private markets, increase efficiency and improve liquidity

The rise of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum has sparked a host of innovative activity. Numerous companies have cashed in on the trend by issuing their own digital currencies and tokens.

While the Securities and Exchange Commission has been clamping down on some of this activity, the rise of “tokenization” has continued. As George Salapa, co-founder of Swiss securitization advisory firm Bardicredit, observed in an article published in Preqin's third-quarter update, tokenization represents an important emerging trend for the private equity and venture capital sectors:

“Tokenization is about ‘cutting’

52 Views    John Engle    2019-12-02 17:47
Adam Neumann treated the co-working business he started like a personal piggy bank, and his former employees are paying the price

The notion that company founders, especially tech (or allegedly tech) company founders, are special has gained significant traction in recent years. The rise of founder-worship can be traced to Silicon Valley, where a number of iconoclastic, ambitious individuals successfully scaled companies from startup to industry goliath. Steve Jobs, who built Apple Inc. (AAPL) into a computer and smartphone giant, is perhaps the most iconic of these founder CEOs, but he is hardly alone. Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp. (ORCL) is another prime example.

However, while many founders have indeed proven themselves to be remarkably skilled, or even gifted,

88 Views    John Engle    2019-10-26 15:42
Guru stock highlight

Turning to individual securities, telecom and venture-capital firm SoftBank (TSE:9984) was the largest individual detractor in the quarter. SoftBank's share price performed well in the first half of this year, and we took profits during the strength. SoftBank's Vision Fund includes ownership positions in Uber and WeWork. Stagnant performance of Uber's IPO and the canceled IPO of WeWork weighed on SoftBank's share price.

From [url=]Matthews Japan Fund[/url] ([url=]Trades[/url], [url=]Portfolio[/url])'s third-quarter 2019 commentary.

10 Views    Sydnee Gatewood    2019-10-24 22:17
Discussion of markets and holdings

For the quarter ending Sept. 30, 2019, the Matthews Japan Fund (Trades, Portfolio) returned 2.04% (Investor Class), while its benchmark, the MSCI Japan Index, returned 3.29%.

Market Environment:

Japanese equities were positive in the third quarter amid a rally by value stocks. As global macroeconomic conditions slowed, Japanese equities may have represented a flight to quality for some investors. Japan's value rally seemed to be sparked by mixed signals among market indicators, rather than by any notable shift in economic fundamentals during the quarter.

Early this year, the U.S. Federal Reserve's pause in rate increases improved investor

42 Views    Sydnee Gatewood    2019-10-24 22:17
SoftBank’s Vision Fund moves to oust Adam Neumann

An awful lot can change in a very short span of time. Just a month or two ago, real estate giant WeWork (or "The We Company," if you so prefer) was being valued at $47 billion ahead of what was supposed to be a blockbuster initial public offering. Today, with the proposed public offering collapsing, it is valued at just $10 billion. WeWork, which has been incinerating investor capital for years (last year, it had a net loss of $1.6 billion), looks like it is headed for a liquidity crunch.

All of this raises an interesting question

136 Views    Stepan Lavrouk    2019-10-14 21:03
The telecom giant has experienced a remarkably swift, and painful, reversal of fortunes

In 2017, SoftBank Group Corp. (TSE:9984) shocked the investing world when it announced plans to raise a massive $100 billion venture capital fund. Dubbed the Vision Fund, it ended up fully subscribed, with billions of dollars pouring in from sovereign wealth funds and powerful tech investors alike. This summer, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son announced plans for a $108 billion Vision Fund 2; by July, it was boasting commitments from the likes of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Apple Inc. (AAPL).

Alas, the success was not to last.

When it rains, it pours

2019 has

460 Views    John Engle    2019-10-10 14:38
The Vision Fund's ambitious startup portfolio is colliding with harsh financial reality

SoftBank Group Corp. (TSE:9984) has had a rough time in recent months. The problems besetting the telecom giant have little to do with its core business, however. Rather, they concern its Vision Fund.

The brainchild of SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, the Vision Fund managed to raise - and spend - a staggering $100 billion on a host of venture capital investments. Son clearly cannot be faulted for a lack of ambition. However, an increasing number of commentators and analysts are calling his grandiose vision into question.

Looks good on paper

Son has boasted at length about

202 Views    John Engle    2019-10-09 14:01
Hail Mary investments on massively overvalued startups make SoftBank Vision Fund vulnerable to souring investor sentiment

Having formed a 300-year vision, projected what will be soaring within 30 years, envisioned that humans will communicate telepathically, successfully raised $64 billion for its first $100 billion Vision Fund and hoped to raise another $70 billion on its second Vision Fund, SoftBank Corp. (TSE:SFTBY) CEO Masayoshi Son is definitely an ultimate visionary who puts his and others' money on tech startups that aim to make the future better for everyone. Meanwhile, investment returns do not seem to reflect the same enthusiasm three years into his Vision Fund.

Via the Vision Fund, the $90 billion Japanese telecommunications company has multi-billion

147 Views    Mark Yu    2019-09-08 20:23
Fund that invests primarily in Japan growth stocks discloses portfolio

The [url=]T. Rowe Price Japan Fund[/url] ([url=]Trades[/url], [url=]Portfolio[/url]), which invests in common stocks primarily in Japan, found two stocks in the second quarter that met its criteria for purchase, it reported this week.

Led by Archibald Ciganer, the investment firm’s Japan strategy seeks companies that promise strong growth, which can often be more volatile that value stocks. It also concentrates its portfolio in companies based in Japan, whose economy is highly susceptible to the effects of trade tariffs and the financial state of its principal trading partner countries.

The portfolio at second quarter-end held 79 positions, with a value of

429 Views    Holly LaFon    2019-07-18 21:56
Wells Fargo tops the list

To find value opportunities, investors should look for securities with earnings yields that at least double the returns of 20-year high-quality market corporate bonds.

These bonds represent corporate loans issued by triple-A, double-A and single-A-rated companies, which means they are unlikely to have financial trouble. The most recent observation of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis indicates the average spot rate of the 20-year bond is 4.17% on a monthly basis.

In addition, since the earnings yield is the inverse of the price-earnings ratio, the following stocks have a ratio of less than 11.99 as of Friday.

232 Views    Alberto Abaterusso    2019-06-17 18:09
Retail investors would be the victim of this effort to cash out of expensive positions

While Masayoshi Son is still very much at the helm of SoftBank Group Corp. (TSE:9984), the company he built into a leader of the Japanese telecom industry, his attention increasingly seems to be focused on the SoftBank Vision Fund.

The Vision Fund is the company’s venture capital investing arm. While managed by SoftBank, it is funded principally by external investors and has raised a staggering $100 billion. Under Son, the fund has built significant positions in a litany of tech startup darlings.

One might think it would be difficult to deploy that much

150 Views    John Engle    2019-05-20 19:35
Guru stock highlight

Turning to individual securities, telecom and venture capital firm SoftBank (TSE:9984) was the largest contributor to performance. SoftBank's share price rose following the announcement of a massive 600 billion yen (US$5.5 billion) stock buyback. The recent IPO of transportation network company Lyft in the U.S. and other unicorn companies going public also spurred interest in pre-IPO companies that SoftBank and its Vision Fund currently hold.

From [url=]Matthews Japan Fund[/url] ([url=]Trades[/url], [url=]Portfolio[/url]) first-quarter 2019 shareholder commentary.

19 Views    Holly LaFon    2019-05-08 16:56
Discussion of markets and holdings

Period ended March 31, 2019

For the quarter ending March 31, 2019, the [url=]Matthews Japan Fund[/url] ([url=]Trades[/url], [url=]Portfolio[/url]) returned 12.68% (Investor Class), outperforming its benchmark, the MSCI Japan Index, which returned 6.85%.

Market Environment:

Japanese equities posted solid gains in the quarter, up from one of their lowest levels of valuations since the start of the Abenomics era in late 2012. Along with other central banks worldwide, the U.S. Federal Reserve's recent pause in rate hikes seems to have improved sentiment. At the same time, the larger macro environment both globally and in Japan remains mixed, with exports slowing and

31 Views    Holly LaFon    2019-05-07 19:50
Learn to recognize this behavior in order to avoid it

How certain are you that tomorrow will be like yesterday? Is tomorrow more likely to resemble yesterday or last year? Most people would probably answer these questions with "quite certain" and "yesterday." That is the heart of what recency bias is: The phenomenon wherein people remember the recent past more easily than the distant past. Consequently, they are likely to overweigh the importance of recent events and deprioritize older ones.

This mental quirk is a natural function of the human brain and there is nothing wrong with it, per se, if you are aware of it. The

281 Views    Stepan Lavrouk    2019-05-04 16:18
Fund releases 1st-quarter portfolio

The Hennessy Japan Fund (Trades, Portfolio) disclosed it established a position in Anicom Holdings Inc. (TSE:8715) in its first-quarter 2019 portfolio, which was released earlier this week.

Managed by Masakazu Takeda and Yu Shimizu, the fund, which is part of California-based Hennessy Advisors, invests in a concentrated number of high-quality Japanese companies. The portfolio managers look for value opportunities among companies that have good management, a strong balance sheet with little to no debt, a durable competitive advantage, a high return on equity, strong cash flow generation and above-average earnings growth.

Hennessy invested in 244,800 shares of

204 Views    Sydnee Gatewood    2019-04-04 14:54