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Stocks

Sony shares steering virtual reality bandwagon

A PlayStation VR headset on display at a store in Tokyo's Ginza district.

TOKYO -- Sony has racked up two straight days of 2016 highs since Thursday's launch of the PlayStation VR, with other stocks riding its coattails.

The Japanese electronics giant gained as much as 2% on Friday to touch 3,493 yen -- a high not seen since November 2015. "Orders for the PS VR are strong, which may lead to higher earnings," said Takatoshi Itoshima, chief portfolio manager at Commons Asset Management.

Sony has climbed more than 20% since March 15, when it announced the October release of the PS VR. Peers have not managed to replicate the magic. Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, which has developed its own virtual reality hardware, has dropped 20% over the same period.

But software developers have ridden the bandwagon. Bandai Namco Holdings has gained 2.6% compared with Wednesday, while Square Enix Holdings has added 1.2%.

"Individual investors are becoming selective amid expectations that virtual reality will spread beyond games," said Tomoichiro Kubota, senior market analyst at Matsui Securities, echoing many other observers. Sega Sammy Holdings, which opened a virtual reality attraction in Tokyo this July, briefly climbed 3% on Friday to a new high for the year. Seiko Epson is also making a strong showing. Its augmented-reality smart glasses enhance viewing of such sites as tourist attractions and museums.

Some analysts advise caution regarding the frenzy, since the PS VR has sold out at many stores and supplies are failing to keep up. And what software for the device will sell well is unclear, warned Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at the Ace Research Institute. "Time is required for making investment decisions," Yasuda said.

(Nikkei)

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