(Bloomberg) -- At 68, Peter Tasker has spent his career in Japanese markets. Still, they managed to surprise him when the Nikkei 225 index hit a record today. 

The co-founder of asset manager Arcus Research Ltd. had expected the index to surpass its 1989 peak this year but not so early. And after experiencing a decade-long decline in stock prices, he’s not ready to bet on the rally continuing unimpeded. 

“Markets are very good devices for humiliating people,” said Tasker. “You’ve got to be careful.” 

Tasker remembers the last peak clearly. The Oxford-educated stockbroker had come to Japan in the early 1980s and witnessed the Nikkei’s surge from 10,000 in 1985 to close to 40,000 at the end of 1989. 

“It was a euphoric moment,” said Tasker. “The run up to that peak was really extraordinary. Many people were saying, ‘oh it’s going to be 100,000.’”

Instead the bubble burst and the Nikkei lost about 80% of its value over the next 14 years. During that time, Tasker built his reputation at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, where he was picked by the Nikkei newspaper as the country’s top equity strategist for five straight years. 

In 1998, he started his investment company, which manages about $2 billion. The Arcus Japan Fund has beaten 97% of its peers over the past three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mindful of how fickle markets can be, Tasker is planning to finally celebrate once the broader Topix Index also reaches a record, showing that the recovery is broad-based. It needs to gain about 8% to hit that level. 

“I’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge since a year ago, cause I thought it is a matter of time before we get to the new level,” said Tasker. “It’s not a very expensive one, but a nice one.”

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