BNP Paribas SA ’s fund of small Japanese companies increased assets eightfold last month after an investment by a Swedish life-insurance company, lured by its bet that smaller stocks will benefit from an earnings recovery.
Japan’s Topix index fell, extending yesterday’s biggest drop in five weeks, after Chinese factory production and retail sales missed estimates, spurring concern about the outlook for the world’s second-biggest economy.
Japanese stocks are poised to surpass this year’s high set in May as a stronger U.S. economy weakens the yen and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reflation policy leads to wage increases, according to BNP Paribas Investment Partners SA and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
Japan’s Topix Index entered a bear market, with stocks plunging to a level not seen since 1983 as Europe’s debt crisis spurs a global flight from risk assets, driving up the yen and threatening exports.
Toyota Motor Corp. , the world’s largest carmaker, forecast profit to rise 48 percent this fiscal year as it recovers from record North American recalls and expands sales in China and other Asian markets.