While it might not be a household name to U.S. investors, Mizuho Financial Group (NYSE:MFG) is one of Japan’s biggest banks with a market cap that is larger than Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) and Capital One (NYSE:COF) combined.
Japan obviously has not had a good run of things for the past decade or so. But its fortunes could be changing thanks to aggressive central bank policy and a renewed focus on breaking free from a history of underperformance. MFG stock has beaten the market so far in 2013, and if Japan keeps up its run this could be the first leg in a sustained multiyear rally for Mizuho and other Japanese equities.
The bank trades at about 80% of book value and has a forward P/E of less than 13, so it’s pretty fairly valued right now. But more important, the first sector that’ll benefit from a true recovery in Japan will be banks like Mizuho that provide bigger loans to consumers and businesses.
MFG stock offers up a decent 3.4% dividend to boot.