(Bloomberg) — Foreign investors sold the most Japanese equities since March 2019 last week as the Topix index reached a fresh multi-decade high.
They offloaded a net ¥1.58 trillion ($10.7 billion) of stocks, almost double the amount the previous week, data from the Ministry of Finance showed.
“Investors who bought Japanese stocks from the beginning are taking profit,” amid concerns about interest rates moving higher, said Ikuo Mitsui, a fund manager at Aizawa Securities Co. “Globally, there’s a move to slightly lower risk-weighted assets.”
Overseas buyers dumped Japanese equities as the benchmark Topix index reached the highest since 1990. Some major global investors, including Warren Buffett became more bullish earlier this year, helping kick off a rally amid signs that inflation will take hold and optimism about corporate governance reforms.
Still, Japanese bond yields have inched higher along with global counterparts in recent days amid intense speculation about when Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda will start to normalize monetary policy, with the focus on a decision today.
The prospect of higher interest rates stands to help financials though by boosting profits from lending, and energy companies are also benefiting from rising oil prices.
Bank of America Corp.’s latest global fund manager survey showed investors are still bullish on Japan, while BlackRock’s Investment Institute further upgraded its stance on the country’s stocks to overweight.
“We are not in a situation where interest rates are going to rise significantly, so that and the performance of individual companies will determine whether funds will come in again toward the end of the year,” Aizawa’s Mitsui said.
The finance ministry data also showed foreigners bought ¥439.4 billion of the nation’s bonds, while Japanese investors purchased ¥885.5 billion of foreign debt and ¥62.6 billion of overseas stocks.