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Nintendo stock soars, hits two-year high

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(Credit: Nintendo)

Nintendo has endured more than its share of bumps and bruises recently, but the company’s fortunes might be turning around.

Shares of the Kyoto-based video game maker hit a two-year high today, jumping 4 percent as traders in Japan speculated that strong 3DS sales numbers in the U.S. could help the company's overall bottom line.

That boost is coming at just the right time, as the Nikkei Index (Japan's equivalent to the stocks that are included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average) is considering some changes, as exchanges in Tokyo and Osaka prepare to merge. Nintendo could join that prestigious list.

Further boosting optimism are persistent reports that China may once again allow console sales in the country, opening up a huge market for Nintendo.

"The stock is up from mixing all these factors," said Takashi Oba, a senior strategist at Okasan Securities Co. "The stock is in an upward trend. There may be some investors who are forced to buy back the shares."

Another big reason for the surge? Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which was the industry's second best selling game in June. The life simulation game has been huge even by Nintendo standards, enjoying the third highest first-month sales in 3DS history, surpassed only by 2011's Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land.

The 3DS itself was the best-selling system for the second month in a row. Nintendo says it sold 225,000 units last month.

The amazing turnaround for the 3DS could raise some hope for the ailing Wii U as well. When the 3DS launched, it was considered a disappointment by many analysts, but it has since established a sales pace that's even faster than that of its predecessor, the DS, something no one was expecting.

The Wii U, similarly, has fallen far short of sales expectations. But with a strong slate of games coming this holiday season and the precedent set by the 3DS, some of the pessimism surrounding Nintendo looks to be diminishing -- from the investment community, at least.

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