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Energy & Utilities

Toshinori Ito of UBS captures the crown for a third consecutive year — and for the fourth time in the past five years.

Toshinori Ito UBS

second team Satoshi Abe Daiwa Institute

third team Hiroyuki Sakaida Goldman Sachs

runners-up Shigeki Matsumoto Nomura; Reiji Ogino Mitsubishi UFJ; Tatsuya Tsunoda Mizuho

Toshinori Ito of UBS captures the crown for a third consecutive year — and for the fourth time in the past five years. ­“He’s the best at knowing ­what’s going on,” insists one port­folio man­ager. Ito, 49, urged investors to sell their shares of Toho Gas Co. in July, at ¥613, on earnings pressure from high liquefied-­natural-­gas prices. By the end of February, the gas producer’s stock price had fallen 17.3 percent, to ¥507, and underperformed the sector by 14.9 percentage points. Ito lowered Hokkaido Electric Power Co. to neutral in August, at ¥2,310, after repairs to earthquake-­damaged nuclear power plants were taking longer than anticipated. The electricity provider’s shares had fizzled to ¥2,080 by late February. “He saved investors money,” says one grateful buy-­sider. After two years in third place, Satoshi Abe of Daiwa Institute of Research rises to second. Clients say they value his “long experience” and applaud “remarkably detailed written work.” In December, Abe reiterated his outperform rating on Nippon Mining Holdings, parent company of Japan Energy Corp., on valuation. The stock had shot up 35.7 percent and outperformed the sector by 40.9 percentage points, by the end of February. Unranked last year, Hiroyuki Sakaida of Goldman Sachs (Japan) finishes third. Sakaida, who, according to one investor, is “passionate about research,” upgraded Electric Power Development Co. to buy last April, calling shares of the thermal-­power provider a bargain at ¥3,850. In June, after the stock had sizzled up 12.7 percent, to ¥4,340, he downgraded it to neutral, on valuation. By the end of February the share price had dimmed to ¥3,150.

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2009 All-Japan Research Team Rankings

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