* Nomura Asset's fund has grown four-fold since Dec, to $8.8
* Other funds also halting subscriptions as stock rally
* Japan-focused equity funds' net inflows 300 bln yen in
(Adds details on Nomura Asset fund, background on other funds
By Chikafumi Hodo
TOKYO, May 17 Japan's top fund manager Nomura
Asset Management said it will halt new subscriptions to its $8.8
billion actively managed Japanese equities mutual fund, the
largest such equities fund in Japan, as it neared peak capacity
during a prolonged share rally.
Nomura Asset said the suspension of its Nomura Japan Brand
Equity Investment Fund would take effect on May 20.
Japan-focused equities mutual funds have also reached their
upper limits in recent weeks at JP Morgan Asset Management,
Nikko Asset Management and other fund firms. Japanese retail
investors have flocked to them as share prices surged to
five-year highs under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reflationary
The flurry of interest could spur other asset managers to
structure new Japan-focused funds, which until this year had
been languishing in the doldrums since the onset of the
The Nomura Asset fund's assets under management totalled
895.5 billion yen ($8.78 billion) as of Thursday, a four-fold
increase from 240 billion yen at the end of December.
The fund, launched in April 2009, held shares in 81
companies as of April 30, according to its latest monthly
report. The top five holdings were Japan Tobacco Inc,
Bridgestone Corp, Honda Motor Co Ltd, Toyota
Motor Corp and Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd
Japanese equities mutual funds have emerged from a long
slump as Abe's plans to fight deflation, dubbed Abenomics,
triggered a rally in the benchmark Nikkei average of
about 70 percent since mid-November.
Net inflows to Japanese equity-focused mutual funds totalled
300 billion yen in April, the highest monthly influx since
December 2005, data from Thomson Reuters fund research firm
A monthly survey by Investment Trusts Association of Japan
showed a fourth straight month of net inflows to domestic
equities funds in April - the longest streak since in 2006.
Japanese equities funds saw net inflows in only eight of the
72 months from January 2007 to December 2012.
Nikko Asset said last week it halted subscriptions to its
Nikko Small and Middle Capitalisation Growth fund after assets
under management approached the 55 billion yen limit.
In April, JP Morgan Asset Management halted new
subscriptions to its "JPM The Japan" fund, a Japanese equity
mutual fund, because it was nearing its limit of 200 billion
($1 = 101.9600 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Chikafumi Hodo; Editing by Edmund Klamann)