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Morgan Stanley Thinks This Country Is 2017’s ‘Top Market’

Tokyo skyline on the nightTokyo skyline on the night
This is 2017's top market for equities investment, according to a Morgan Stanley research note.franckreporter/Getty Images/iStockphoto

As the end of 2016 is finally nigh, market predictions for the new year begin to roll in. The latest report from Morgan Stanley on where best to invest in 2017 is bullish on equities in one particular country — at the expense of the U.S.

“Japan becomes our top market,” analysts from the investment bank’s cross-assets strategy unit wrote in a report Sunday. According to Bloomberg, the report suggests that the Japanese market in 2017 would come “with attractive long-run valuations” and “some cyclical strength” as well as prospects for positive earnings growth.

The bank’s positive outlook for Japan comes in part from the country’s stronger-than-expected economic growth and the continued weakening of the Japanese yen. Bloomberg reports that this is as a result the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, following the perception of an increased likelihood of a Federal Reserve rate hike after the election of Donald Trump. The report added that earnings of Japanese companies — particularly those with significant overseas income — would be boosted as a result, according to CNBC.

The optimism for Japan in the new year comes at the expense of the U.S., though, as Morgan Stanley changed tack to recommend selling American equities and reducing exposure to emerging markets alongside the U.S.

Andrew Sheets, Morgan Stanley’s chief cross-asset analyst, told Bloomberg that “next year is likely to see Japan and Europe lead the global earnings recovery,” as any potential corporate tax changes and government spending under a Trump administration are “unlikely to come through meaningfully until 2018.”

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Japan’s economy grew year-on-year by 2.2% between July and September, according to Reuters, despite expectations otherwise. Following its third straight quarter of economic growth, analysts from other banks are also harboring their hopes on Japan for a profitable new year.

Meanwhile, a note from JPMorgan Cazenove, published Monday, suggested that Japanese corporate earnings would benefit from a weakening yen, reports CNBC. According to CNBC, the bank said that tech and energy would be among the sectors reaping the most windfall from the weak currency, while utilities and healthcare would lose out.