Every year (usually in the beginning of September), the Nikkei Inc Index team conducts an annual review of the major price-weighted Nikkei indices – the most important being the Nikkei 225 Average – and adds and subtracts constituents according to the Rules.
Today, they announced the 2021 version of the changes (announcement, PAF changes).
Below is Some Background. If you want to skip ahead to the juicy analysis, you can jump ahead to the Changes Announced section just below, and then more below the fold.
The Nikkei 225, well-known globally as “the Nikkei” is a price-weighted index, originally started nearly 70 years ago as an average of a selected number of stocks listed on the TSE First Section. Later, it became 225 members.
Because it is price-weighted, and because for a long time it made no divisor adjustments for stock splits (so when a stock split 2:1 its weight fell by half because price fell by half and trackers had to sell half their shares in that stock), and the price multiplier was determined by the par value of a company, then they later they started adjusting for splits, stocks which are old, never split, AND have a high price end up having a high weight in the index.
There was a huge reshuffle in April 2000 when the Nikkei decided that the system needed rebalancing to include more tech, so they changed the Rules. They pushed 30 names out and 30 names in, and the 30 names added were 50% of the new index.
Twenty one years after the prior change in methodology, this past May 10 the Nikkei Inc Index Team announced new changes to the Rules. There was a proposal, with an FAQ, and supplemental data. On 5 July, the Nikkei confirmed the proposal with a new Guidebook.
When I wrote about this on 10 May in After 20yrs, Nikkei 225 Proposes Minor Impact Rule Changes (Nintendo Disappointment?) I said I thought the changes disappointing. There are real problems with the index and this did not do much; the changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with the only interesting change being that constituents are added with a weight no greater than 1%. If the normal price adjustment factor would allow a constituent to enter at a weight greater than 1%, the Price Adjustment Factor (base 1) is lowered in increments of 0.1 so that the deemed inclusion weight on Base Date (end of July) is no more than 1%. There is no change to the idea that the Nikkei Index Team can override their rankings at any time as they see fit.
Because the Nikkei Index Team had let the sector balances and rankings slide quite a bit over the years (not adding “obvious” names and not deleting names which should probably have been deleted, and not rebalancing the sectors as the rules say they should), the possibility was that some names like Nintendo Co Ltd (7974 JP) and similar high-price-low-share-count names which “deserved” to be included were not simply because their very high price would create undue impact (it was undue impact and the lack of incremental float for high-weight low-share-count names which caused the BOJ to lower, then eventually cease their buying of Nikkei 225 ETFs). This rule on capping inclusions at 1% would go a ways to mitigating that problem so that would allow the Nikkei to add previously un-addable names. Expectations were high on a group of names, with Nintendo Co Ltd (7974 JP), Keyence Corp (6861 JP), ZOZO Inc (3092 JP), and probably Oriental Land (4661 JP), with the latter two likely to create some real froth if actually selected.
The Changes Announced
Today after the close, the Nikkei Index Team announced the following changes to the Nikkei 225 Average as a result of the Annual Review:
The changes will be made on the last trading day of September, at the close. I expect to see $10bn trade on that day.
The new rules allow the Nikkei Index team to not do a lot to the sector mix if the additions are made because of “High Liquidity” because while the sector mix would normally mean more than three deleted, the new rules cap changes at 3 per annual rebalance (which is not enough).
As noted above, ZOZO Inc (3092 JP) and Oriental Land (4661 JP) were among names which were expected as possible inclusions and therefore a certain amount of pre-positioning may be in place. They may get somewhat hurt tomorrow.
There are a LOT of moving parts here. There are 3 ADDs, 3 DELETIONS, 1 Price Adjustment Factor moved sharply higher and one moved somewhat lower (a list of all the PAFs announced by the Nikkei is here), then there are another 220 stocks which will see selling on 30 September at the rebalance.
For more detailed analysis of the stocks, their positioning, how much to buy, etc, please read on.
For more about passive tracking in Japan, please refer to JAPAN PASSIVE: Who Owns What 2021?