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Instant noodles cool as Japan's stay-at-home stocks lose steam

Nissin, Nintendo and other once-hot names now underperform broader index

As Japan steps back from social distancing guidelines, the share prices of companies expected to benefit from people staying home have faltered.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Such Japanese stocks as Nissin Foods Holdings and Nintendo that had rallied in anticipation of demand from consumers stuck at home amid the coronavirus pandemic have begun returning to Earth as the government begins to relax emergency measures.

Instant-noodle purveyor Toyo Suisan is included with Nissin on a list of coronavirus shares compiled by Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. Video game company Capcom makes an appearance with Nintendo. So do Nomura Research Institute and Obic, which investors had hoped would both see an influx in orders for systems for remote work.

The brokerage defined coronavirus stocks as the top 10% of performers in the Topix 500 index over the past three months. The virus stocks lagged 0.4% behind the broader index in mid-May, compared with an outperformance of 9.7% at the peak on April 22.

These stocks "were bought on bearish sentiment as shelters for capital" but now are being sold again, said Makoto Furukawa, chief portfolio strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley.

Since the government has lifted its state of emergency in 39 of Japan's 47 prefectures, investors "have higher hopes of the economy reopening in greater Tokyo," said Katsuhiko Nakamura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

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