* Nikkei turns as investors take profits
* Foreigners’ heavy share-buying may be a record
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average pulled back from a seven-year high on Friday as investors turned cautious before economic growth data next week, amid mounting expectations that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would call an early election and possibly postpone a sales tax hike.
The Nikkei benchmark dropped 0.2 percent to 1,7360.77 in mid-morning trade after rising as high as 0.7 percent to 17,520 at the open, its highest intraday level since July 2007.
The Nikkei started rising on Oct. 31, after investors cheered the Bank Of Japan’s surprise easing and the Government Pension Investment Fund’s decision to increase its allocation to Japanese equities.
Investors also lapped up shares this week on reports Abe is preparing to delay a second rise in the sales tax in an attempt to energise Japan’s sluggish recovery.
The Nikkei has soared 11 percent since Oct. 31. For the week, the benchmark has gained 2.6 percent.
But market observers said investors are cautious about ploughing more cash into a market that is seen as overheated.
“Short-term foreign investors were seen the main buyers, and they mostly bought index futures,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, chief portfolio manager at Commons Asset Management. “The pace of the rise is too fast - it can trigger decent profit-taking any minute.”
Data on Thursday showed that foreign investors bought a suspected record volume 2.23 trillion yen ($19.26 billion) of Japanese shares, including both futures and cash stocks, between Nov. 4-7.
Itoshima also said that the market is cautious before the release of Japan’s gross domestic product data for the July-Sept quarter on Monday.
Abe has said he will decide whether to proceed with the sales tax hike to 10 percent from 8 percent in October next year after examining third quarter growth.
Exporters were mixed as investors started pocketing gains, though the losses are limited as the dollar hit a fresh seven-year high of 116.20 yen.
Toyota Motor Corp dropped 0.3 percent, Fanuc Ltd fell 1.2 percent, while Sony Corp added 0.9 percent.
Index-heavy stocks underperformed, with SoftBank Corp shedding 1.1 percent and Fast Retailing Co declining 0.6 percent.
The broader Topix shed 0.1 percent to 1,388.69, and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.1 percent to 12,681.53. (Editing by Eric Meijer)