Industries — Autos: Third
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Industries — Autos: Third

Masataka Kunugimoto

Nomura Securities Co.

Climbing from runner-up, where he debuted last year, to third place is Masataka Kunugimoto of Nomura Securities Co. “He always makes a strong and valid case,” declares one money manager. Among auto exporters, Hiroshima-based Mazda Motor Corp. is “best positioned” to benefit from the weaker yen, Kunugimoto believes, noting that its new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles is “significantly more profitable than outgoing models.” He predicts the stock will zip to ¥350 this year; in mid-March the shares were priced at ¥301. The analyst is also bullish on Fuji Heavy Industries, the Tokyo-based maker of Subaru automobiles, and credits it with “clever positioning by sidestepping the highly competitive low end of the mass market and focusing on all-wheel-drive models,” a strategy that has enabled the company to avoid deep discounting. The stock, which stood at ¥1,568 in mid-March, should race to ¥1,700 this year, Kunugimoto says. — Paul Sweeney

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