Yahoo Japan Stock Breaks 100 Million Yen Barrier
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The over-the-counter price for a single share of Yahoo Japan Corp. stock this week topped 100 million yen (US$94,780), making it the first ever to surpass that level in Japanese stock market history.
Following six consecutive days of trading up to its 2 million yen (US$18,950) daily limit, Yahoo Japan's share price reached a high of 101.4 million yen (US$96,110) shortly before 10:00 AM on Wednesday.
Japan's top Internet portal and search service provider could not long sustain its position above the psychologically important 100 million yen mark, however. By the close of Wednesday's trading, Yahoo Japan shares had fallen back to 99.1 million yen (US$93,930).
By noon Thursday, the share price eroded by an additional 3.7 percent, trading at 95.4 million yen (US$90,420).
Some market insiders, however, have voiced concern about the steep upsurge in price (a 10-fold increase in the past year) and cautioned investors against what they termed "over-heated interest."
Yahoo Japan currently has fewer than 27,900 outstanding shares, with only about 15 percent of these actively traded on the market -- a situation that creates wide fluctuations in price even on small transaction volume.
The company has announced that it will execute a two-for-one stock split on May 19, a move that Yahoo! Japan Chief Financial Officer Akira Kajikawa said is aimed at improving liquidity and making the stock more affordable for individual investors.
Yahoo Japan's rise has been fueled by strong investor interest in Internet-related issues, and turbo-charged by the company's six straight quarters of record revenues and profit.
On January 14, Yahoo Japan reported a pretax profit for the third quarter of the current fiscal year (October-December 1999) of 584 million yen (US$5.54 million), a jump of 426 percent from the same period one year earlier.
This record profit came on total revenues for the quarter of 1.61 billion yen (US$15.3 million), representing a 211 percent year-on-year increase. Advertising sales accounted for 94 percent of fiscal year 1999's third quarter revenues.
Site accesses are on an upward trend as well. Yahoo Japan has reported that December 1999 accesses to its portal site reached 1.23 billion, nearly triple the December 1998 figure.
Yahoo Japan President and CEO Masahiro Inoue said he expects March results to surpass those of December. "We've always seen the last month of each quarter doing better than three months earlier," he said.
Inoue declined, however, to predict whether the company would again post record revenues and profit in the next quarter.