Japan Pension Funds Pile Into Stocks at Fastest Pace Since 2009

As Japan’s stocks sink, pension funds are loading up.

Trust banks, which buy on behalf of retirement savings managers such as the giant Government Pension Investment Fund, added 271 billion yen ($2.3 billion) of equities last week, the most since March 2009, according to exchange data published Thursday. They’ve purchased a net 1.4 trillion yen of stocks in 10 straight weeks of buying, a span in which the Topix index slid 11 percent.

GPIF doubled its allocations to Japanese and foreign shares in 2014, boosting returns to a record as stocks rallied into August last year. The share rout that followed left GPIF posting a 7.9 trillion yen loss in the three months through September.

For Yutaka Miura at Mizuho Securities Co., the figures indicate an adjustment of assets after a global equities rout this year erased $6.5 trillion in value and sent bonds higher.

“It appears that pension funds were rebalancing and buying stocks because their weight in the asset had fallen,” said Miura, a technical analyst at Mizuho in Tokyo. “It’s similar to how trust banks bought a large amount in August and September last year too.”

Foreigners were net sellers of Japanese stocks for a fourth week last week, offloading a net 207 billion yen, the data show.

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