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A 'major change' is making Japan a buy: JPMorgan expert

Markets in Japan are getting ready for a huge comeback, according to Stephen Parker of JPMorgan Private Bank.

Japanese stocks have been severely battered in recent months, with the Nikkei 225 index falling 15 percent this year. But Parker says the market is actually set to recoup all those losses, and finish 2016 in the green.

In past years, Japanese companies were focused on preserving jobs, he said. Now, he expects to see a "major change" in executives prioritizing shareholder returns. This will lead to companies using their accumulated cash piles to raise dividends and implement stock buybacks.

Japan "is now delivering some of the best earnings growth in the world. And if you think about a world where overall economic growth is pretty slow, you want to focus on markets where you can actually see companies do things to improve margins and deliver on earnings growth," Parker said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now."

Compared to U.S. companies, Japanese firms have nearly three times as much cash as a percentage of market cap, Parker said. He added that 2016 is on a record-breaking track for Japan in terms of buybacks.

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In addition, Parker expects Japanese companies to see earnings growth this year of 5 to 10 percent. Coupled with the sell-off in Japanese stocks, Parker said the current environment provides investors with a substantial buying opportunity.

"The markets are actually some of the cheapest we're seeing anywhere," he said.

According to Parker, several specific catalysts have contributed to Japan's market rout. For one, he said, investors have cashed out on profits after the Nikkei outperformed most other stock markets in 2015. Japan has also suffered from nervousness surrounding China's economic slowdown, as well as concerns over the country's monetary policy.

Parker also said investors have attributed rising Japanese stocks to a weakening yen. But even if the yen continues to strengthen, the pressure on stocks should soon abate, in his view.

"The fact that a lot of people were associating the rally in Japan with a weaker currency, I think that's an old story," he said. However, "as investors begin to look back and see what companies are delivering from an earnings perspective, that potentially is a big positive and a big tailwind for Japanese companies."

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