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Even Novelty Bakeries Soar As Pokemon Fever Boosts Japan Stocks

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Bread makers, television broadcasters, toy companies and regional banks: these are just some of Tokyo traders’ favorite stocks this week, all thanks to Pokemon.

The craze surrounding the mobile game Pokemon Go has spread far beyond its maker Nintendo Co., which surged more than 70 percent since the app’s launch on July 6. It’s now spurring rallies in companies even loosely related to the little pocket monsters’ resurgence.

First Baking Co., which counts among its products Pokemon bread, soared by the most in almost 2 1/2 years on Thursday, toymaker Tomy Co. closed at its highest in more than a decade, and TV Tokyo Holdings Corp., which broadcasts the cartoon on Thursday evenings, at one stage was heading for its biggest gain on record. Bank of Kyoto Ltd., a 75-year-old lender in Japan’s ancient capital, jumped 36 percent in four days. It is, you see, the fifth-largest shareholder of Nintendo.

“This is all very amusing,” said Seiichiro Iwamoto, a senior fund manager at Mizuho Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “Speculative traders are having a lot of fun.”

Instant Hit


Game developers around the world also watched in astonishment as the mobile version of the beloved 1990s game became an instant hit. Pokemon Go has shot to the top of download charts since it debuted, with Nintendo working to boost server capacity to introduce the location-based smartphone game in markets beyond the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

For now, Mizuho’s Iwamoto says, it’s too early to say how much the popularity of the game will transfer to the companies’ earnings. There may be more share gains as the game reaches other countries, but the rally will probably fizzle in coming days, he said.

“Things should calm down soon,” Iwamoto said. “Then we can all be a bit more realistic about how these companies are going to benefit from Pokemon Go. I think the stocks have priced in the game enough for now.”

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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