July 26, 2007 / 9:53 AM / 13 years ago

UPDATE 1-Nintendo jumps in market value on earnings fever

(Updates with closing share price)

TOKYO, July 26 (Reuters) - Nintendo Co. Ltd. 7974.OS zipped passed telecoms giant NTT (9432.T) and a major financial group to become Japan’s fifth-biggest company by market value on Thursday, propelled higher by a stellar earnings performance on demand for its Wii and DS game gear.

Nintendo’s stock climbed 8.8 percent or by its daily limit of 5,000 yen to end at a record 618,000 yen, adding to a 3.5 percent gain made on Wednesday after its earnings announcement.

The Kyoto-based company lifted its annual outlook above market expectations after quarterly operating profit more than tripled, as its strategy to expand the gaming population to women and the elderly paid off handsomely.

Offering innovative and easy-to-play games, the company’s DS handheld player and Wii console have outsold rival Sony Corp. (6758.T) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O) machines in recent months.

Its market value now stands at 8.76 trillion yen ($72.7 billion), outstripping Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T), NTT or Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (9432.T), and Honda Motor Co (7267.T) which had placed higher in the rankings only a day before.

It shot past Sony last month.

Nintendo revised up its operating profit forecast by 37 percent to 370 billion yen ($3.1 billion) for the year to March 2008, topping a consensus of a 305 billion yen profit in a poll of 20 analysts by Reuters Estimates.

It also lifted its annual dividend forecast to 960 yen from an earlier estimate of 700 yen.

Nintendo’s DS lets users control play with a stylus instead of manipulating a keypad, while the Wii, which competes with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, comes with an unusual motion-sensing controller that can be swung like a bat or a sword.

The creator of such game characters as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong raised its sales forecast for the Wii by 18 percent to 16.5 million units for the current business year, while lifting its DS sales target by 18 percent to 26 million units.

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