The 2014 All-Japan Research Team: Ceramics & Glass, No. 1: Hiroshi Matsuda
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The 2014 All-Japan Research Team: Ceramics & Glass, No. 1: Hiroshi Matsuda

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< The 2014 All-Japan Research Team

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Hiroshi Matsuda Mizuho Securities Group First-Place Appearances: 1


Total Appearances: 3


Analyst Debut: 2012 Capturing his first No. 1 finish is Mizuho Securities Group's Hiroshi Matsuda, who advances from second place after two years. Although glass stocks faced a "tough environment" in 2013, owing to low valuations, the analyst says, strong performance in the cement and ceramics segments buoyed the broader group. Matsuda, 49, does not expect that trend to continue. "The overall sector will see a temporary lull in 2014, due to a lack of catalysts in cement," he forecasts, "but raised valuations in glass are necessary to boost the performance of the sector as a whole." Potential standouts are two Tokyo-based companies he urges buying, on their potential for delivering medium-term profit growth: Taiheiyo Cement Corp., Japan's largest cement manufacturer; and Nichias Corp., which makes sealing materials and thermal insulators. Matsuda upgraded Taiheiyo from neutral in April 2013, expecting profitability in the domestic cement segment to steadily improve and advising that "investors should position themselves for a full-fledged recovery in profits from overseas cement operations," he says. By mid-March the stock had rocketed 53.2 percent, to ¥360, while the broad market was flat. As for Nichias, the analyst was convinced in October that the results of management's recent aggressive investment program would begin bearing fruit in the fiscal year ending in March 2015, so he elevated the shares from neutral, at ¥647. Although it climbed as high as ¥775 in late January, the stock had settled back to ¥648 by mid-March. Matsuda earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Aichi's Nagoya University and promptly joined what is now Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities to work as an analyst. In 1995 he began covering this sector for that firm, before jumping to Mizuho Securities in 2000. The researcher "is honest," one loyalist attests, "and his reports are reasonable."


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