Sectors: Trading Companies
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Sectors: Trading Companies

After two years in second place, Yasuhiro Narita climbs the final rung to capture first-place honors for the first time.

Yasuhiro Narita Nomura

second team Kenichiro Yoshida Goldman Sachs

third team Jiro Iokibe Daiwa

After two years in second place, Yasuhiro Narita climbs the final rung to capture first-place honors for the first time. Narita, 35, earned a bachelor’s degree from Hitotsu­bashi University in 1998, then joined Nomura that year as a housing analyst before moving to the Trading Companies sector in 2007. Investors say that his experience with another sector is an advantage: “As a relatively new analyst in this sector, he has a unique angle. He always looks at other sectors to understand the movement of the stock market,” explains one buy-­sider. Narita initiated coverage on Mitsu­bishi Corp. in October 2008 with a buy recommendation, citing strong growth prospects, and has reiterated the call repeatedly since. In the 12 months through February, the stock skyrocketed 85.9 percent, outpacing the sector by 40.7 points.

Kenichiro Yoshida, who slips from first place to second, “has covered trading companies so long that his opinion is backed by historical data and is very convincing,” avows one backer. The Goldman Sachs analyst, who is also ranked third in Broadcasting, upgraded Itochu Corp. from neutral to buy in February 2009, at ¥468, on the deep inroads the company was making into China’s consumer market. The stock shot up to ¥716 through February 2010, a gain of 53 percent.

Daiwa’s Jiro Iokibe debuts in third place. “Trading companies’ business can include anything, so an aggressive attitude about research is very important, and he has this,” says one grateful client. Iokibe also urged clients to buy Mitsu­bishi, although not as early as the first-­teamer; he recommended the stock in August, at ¥1,916, “with the expectation of higher coking coal prices against the backdrop of strong Chinese imports.” By late February the stock had bolted 15.9 percent, to ¥2,220.


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