Japan hedge fund indices have barely managed to stay on the positive end with a +0.15 percent return on average in June. Japan focused hedge funds returned somewhat better than global funds.

Shorts In Japan Rise As Hedge Funds Stuggle To Stay Up In June

The $500 million Marathon Vertex Fund, a Japan equity fund, was up 0.66 percent in June, bringing YTD gains to 15.5 percent. Martin Currie Japan Fund was up 0.8 percent in the same period and is up 21 percent for the year.

Among the detractors were Henderson Japan ABS Return Fund, which lost 1.38 percent in June. the fund manages $300 million and is up 12 percent through the year. Equilibria Japan Fund Ltd was down 1.4 percent through June 21 and the fund manages $340 million and has gained 17.3 percent YTD. LIM Japan Fund lost 0.86 percent in the same period and the fund uses a diversified multi strategy approach.

Banks More Bearish Than Hedge Funds

Meanwhile shorts in Japanese companies have maintained their steam, although it looks like asset managers of banks are decidedly more bearish on Japanese companies than hedge funds are, judging by the variety of short positions that are seen from Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), UBS AG (NYSE:UBS), Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and others.

Davidson Kempner, a $19 billion US hedge fund, just initiated a short in Kadokawa Corp (TYO:9477), a video distribution company. Davidson Kempner’s is holding 880,000 shares of Kadokawa short. GLG Partners, Linden Capital and Nomura International have also bet against the company. Other equities that multiple hedge funds have  bet against are Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) and Kakaku.com, Inc. (TYO:2371).

BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) and Oxford Asset Management have short positions in Nippon Chemical Industrial Co., Ltd. (TYO:4092), about 1.5 percent of the company’s shares are held in bearish bets. Oxford Asset Management has a small short positon in The Tokyo Tomin Bank, Limited (TYO:8339) whereas Blackrock has a negative bet in Bank of The Ryukyus, Limited. (TYO:8399).

Banks have bet against all of Japan’s automakers, including MITSUBISHI MOTORS CORPORATION (TYO:7211), Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (TYO:7272) and DAIHATSU MOTOR CO., LTD. (TYO:7262). Same goes for Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd (TYO:3863), the largest paper manufacturer of Japan, UBS AG (NYSE:UBS), Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) and Nomura International have shorts in the company.