Sell-side analysts can be a stubborn lot. Even when a less-favored company outperforms, it's not uncommon to see follow-up reports declaring that its outperformance can't continue. When looking at the large Japanese trading companies, Itochu's (OTCPK:ITOCY) outperformance certainly stands out - the shares are up more than 50% in Japan while rivals Mitsui (OTCPK:MITSY), Marubeni (OTCPK:MARUY), Sumitomo (OTCPK:SSUMY), and Mitsubishi (MSHBY) are up around 20% to 30%.
Itochu's strong performance doesn't strike me as a fluke. Management has consciously and deliberately sought to create a balanced collection of assets, with operations in food and machinery offsetting the volatility to the commodities operations. With management looking to build its non-resource operations at...
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