The Nikkei closed down another 1.40% last night. It’s currently the biggest underperformer of the year, beating the main equities index of every other advanced economy.
As of Thursday, the S&P 500 is still in the green for the year, up 2.4% since January. In comparison, Japanese equities are getting smoked, down 9.48% since January, and down 11% in the last three weeks alone
In terms of the Japanese economy, an April sales tax hike had a significant impact, and today the Financial Times reports that Bank of Japan failed to meet its bond-buying target for the first time in two years, despite a massive quantitative easing programme.
As the chart makes clear, Japanese equities are struggling to get any real traction at all this year.
Only Germany’s DAX, down more than 8% since January, comes close in terms of the world’s major advanced economies.
It’s not all bad news for Japan’s investors really. Despite a miserable performance this year, stocks are still riding high in comparison to say, their 2012 levels. That’s because the Nikkei surged by an astonishing 57% in 2013. To put the recent drop in context, here’s a longer-term graph: