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Nintendo briefly moved past Sony in market capitalization on Monday to become one of Japan's 10 most valuable companies for the first time in its history, sitting alongside household names such as Toyota, Honda and Canon. However, Nintendo finished the day in the 11th place by market value, just above Matsushita Electric Industrial and below Sony.
Nintendo's Wii gaming console was the surprise hit of last year's holiday season, it has outsold Sony's PlayStation 3 console by three to one in Japan and by more than two to one in the United States so far this year, according to research firm NPD. On the portable gaming arena, Nintendo DS has also proven a winning follow-up to the Game Boy franchise outselling Sony's PSP. Nintendo's shares rose as high as $375, boosting its market value to $53 billion and narrowly surpassing Sony's market capitalization.
Mizuho Securities analyst Takeshi Koyama said, however, that investors should watch out for a possible pull-back after two year-long bull runs. "This is one of those companies that is not exactly making daily necessities. One negative factor and shares could take a dive. We need to be careful in dealing with shares like this," he said.
Sony shares have risen 67 percent over the past two years, but Nintendo shares skyrocketed more than fourfold over the same period. For the past decade, it was Sony leading the 30 billion dollar game industry; however, in part due to a lack of attractive software titles and a high price tag, the PlayStation 3 console is seeing a slow start.