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Nonresident investors remained net buyers of Japanese stocks and bonds in 2004 for the second straight year, with net purchases reaching a record 14.99 trillion yen, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

Their buying in the reporting year was underpinned by a recovery in Japanese corporate earnings. The previous record was 9.84 trillion yen, set in 2000, when the information technology bubble was at its peak.

Nonresident investors bought a net 10.53 trillion yen worth of Japanese stocks in 2004. Purchases totaled 116.16 trillion yen, while sales came to 105.64 trillion yen, the ministry said in a report based on settlements.

They bought a net 4.46 trillion yen in Japanese bonds, with purchases coming in at 72.78 trillion yen and sales at 68.32 trillion yen.

Japanese investors were net buyers of foreign stocks and bonds in the reporting year, with net purchases of 18.78 trillion yen, the second-largest amount on record.

They bought a net 3.19 trillion yen worth of foreign stocks, and net buying of foreign bonds amounted to 15.58 trillion yen, the ministry said.

In December, nonresident investors were net buyers of Japanese stocks and bonds on a settlement basis, with net buys of 1.85 trillion yen. Japanese investors were net buyers of foreign stocks and bonds in the reporting month, with net purchases of 323.9 billion yen.

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