Foreigners net buyers of Japan stocks for second straight week

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Foreign investors were net buyers of Japanese equities for a second week running, encouraged by strong corporate earnings and expectations of faster economic growth.

Data from Japanese exchanges showed foreigners were net buyers of stocks worth 471.87 billion yen ($4.46 billion) in the week ended Feb. 12.

They purchased 345.16 billion yen in cash equities markets and 126.71 billion yen worth of derivatives.

According to Refinitiv data, December-quarter results for a 1,000 Japanese firms showed a 11.2% increase in operating profit from a year ago, beating the consensus estimates by a large margin.

Top Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Co and Honda Motor Co Ltd raised their full-year earnings forecasts last week, while Japan’s biggest steelmakers, Nippon Steel Corp and JFE Holdings Inc, cut their loss forecast.

The Nikkei share average and the Topix index both gained more than 2% last week.

Meanwhile, Japanese investors sold overseas equities worth 23.8 billion yen last week, marking a fifth successive week of net selling, finance ministry data showed. ($1 = 105.9000 yen)

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Editing by Devika Syamnath