March 26, 2020 / 8:27 AM / 15 days ago

Foreigners net sellers of Japanese stocks last week on coronavirus nerves

March 26 (Reuters) - Foreign investors sold Japanese equities in the week ended March 20, marking their sixth straight week of net selling, as fears over the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic curbed investor appetite for riskier assets.

Overseas investors sold a net 774.1 billion yen ($7.00 billion) worth of local stocks last week, according to data from Japanese stock exchanges.

They sold 360.6 billion yen worth of derivatives last week, and in cash markets, they sold 413.4 billion yen.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed at least 21,200 and infected over 470,800 people globally.

For an interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus open in an external browser.

The Nikkei index fell over 5% last week and marked it’s sixth straight weekly decline, while the Topix index gained 1.7%.

Both indexes hit at least a three-year low last week.

This week, the indexes have gained over 8% as the U.S. Federal Reserve rolled out various programs to backstop an economy reeling from sweeping restrictions on commerce placed to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously backed a $2 trillion bill aimed at helping unemployed workers and industries hurt by the coronavirus epidemic, as well as providing billions of dollars to buy urgently needed medical equipment.

The House of Representatives is also likely to vote in favor of the bill on Friday.

Japanese stocks banking on the success of the Olympics this year gained this week, after sharp falls in the weeks before, bolstered by the International Olympic Committee’s decision to delay the Tokyo games to 2021, instead of canceling it.

Meanwhile, Japanese investors purchased a net 392 billion yen worth of overseas equities last week, their biggest weekly net purchase in over a year, finance ministry data showed. ($1 = 110.5100 yen)

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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