Year to date, Japan is the worst performing developed equity market, down 8.64% on average.
Only two industry groups are up for the year, while industries like insurance and diversified financials are down 15-20%.
Performance of Japanese Industries
The recent easy excuse to explain the underperformance of Japanese equities is the pending hike in the sales tax. But the reality is that this has been in the works for almost a year now. In May of last year, as the proposed hike was being debated, consumer confidence peaked and has been sliding since. The divergence between QE and the real economy widened in the back half of 2013, and now the pressure is being released.
Trendy foreign investors who piled into Japanese stocks in the spring of last year are now beating a path to the exits.