Japan equities was one of the hottest markets as 2017 came to a close, and that was before many foreign investors had even started to become active in that market again. CLSA maintain that a continued cyclical recovery is likely to combine with a secular increase in profitability, plus growing pressure from shareholders and accelerating buybacks will result in returns hitting all-time highs in 2018, writes Nicolas Smith, CLSA’s Japan market strategist in the firm’s 2018 outlook report (Dec 14). Smith was ranked No.1 for Japan strategy in Asiamoney’s Brokers Poll four years in a row from 2013 to 2016. Most recently, Smith has written a couple of interesting in depth reports focussed on Japan bank stocks and small cap stocks. In ”Is the BoJ warming to rate rises?” (Dec 1) he examined whether there has been a sea change in the BoJ’s attitude to banks and what the might means for bank stocks (Pull up a chart on the TOPIX bank index to see how much they have rallied in recent weeks), and ”The case for small caps” (Nov 24) he highlighted the pros and cons of investing in Japanese small caps.