TOKYO -- With the Nikkei Stock Average weighed down by concerns over the U.S. economy and waning oil prices, smaller companies have emerged as solid bets among investors shadowing massive public funds dubbed "whales."
However, those behemoths are as elusive as ever. "I haven't observed any aggressive [portfolio] rebalancing purchasing by public money," said Kenji Abe of Okasan Securities. The Government Pension Investment Fund and Japan's three big mutual aid pensions have the leeway to snap up an estimated 5.9 trillion yen ($58.2 billion) worth of Japanese equities. But Abe said those pension managers are not surfacing in the market like they used to, despite recent price corrections.