After a monthlong, surprisingly competitive race for Japan’s new leader, the contest ended predictably: Fumio Kishida, the most experienced, most middle-of-the-road candidate, is set to become Japan’s 100th prime minister. 

For good or ill, Kishida is seen by investors as a continuity choice -- stable, but unlikely to energize markets much. Early in the race, foreign investors and retail traders were intrigued by the potential of a Taro Kono victory, attracted by his fluent English, reformist leanings and social-media savvy. 

“Kishida is likely to generate the weakest equity market moves” of the candidates, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economist Naohiko Baba wrote in a report, “particularly since his reformist views appear somewhat weak and his stance on fiscal discipline is cautious.”

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