Nintendo shares surge as China eases gaming console ban

TOKYO Tue Jan 7, 2014 8:47pm EST

TOKYO Jan 8 (Reuters) - Shares in Nintendo Co Ltd jumped as much as 6 percent to a 2-1/2 year high on Wednesday after China temporarily lifted a 14-year-old ban on selling video game consoles.

The move could pave the way for Nintendo, Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp to enter the world's third-largest video game market in terms of revenue.

"Nintendo hasn't had a catalyst for a long time, so if it can revive (via) the Chinese consumer market then it would be positive," a Tokyo-based trader said.

However, Sony shares slipped 0.3 percent to 1,794 yen. The trader said this reflected the fact that Sony has several lines of business, not just game consoles. Sony also rallied more than Nintendo in 2013, climbing 91 percent to Nintendo's 55 percent.

The benchmark Nikkei jumped 57 percent last year.

The trader also said Nintendo's stock was benefiting from a weaker yen on Wednesday.

The yen was quoted at 104.69 yen to the dollar, not far from a more than five-year high of 105.45 yen set on Jan. 2.

Nintendo was the ninth-most traded stock on the main board.

(Reporting by Dominic Lau; Editing by Michael Perry and Edwina Gibbs)

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