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Tony Craze from Fisk and Co.
"There's certainly an appetite for these stocks"
 real 28k

Ben Wedmore
Analyst from HSBC Securities
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 January, 2000, 15:34 GMT
Yahoo Japan shares nudge $1m each

Yahoo Japan website Yahoo Japan is seen as a future money-spinner

Internet fever has helped create Japan's first ever 100m yen share.

Following a 50-fold rise in its stock price in little more than two years, Yahoo Japan's shares are worth more than 100m yen, or just under $1m each.

The huge price tag is a result of scarcity of shares - there are only 4,200 shares on offer - and continued internet fever.

Share split

In an effort to make the shares a little more affordable, there is to be a two-for-one share split - but that will still leave each one costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Yahoo Japan's current share price puts its price-to-earnings (PE) ratio - the number of times the earnings per share must be multiplied to reach the share price - at 3,355.

That compares with an average PE ratio of 80 for the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 1,900 companies, and a historical average across the world of about 10.

Potential remains

Shares in Yahoo Japan, the country's most popular internet portal, briefly rose by the daily limit to hit 101.4m yen ($959,600), on Wednesday.

The landmark followed a five-day rally partly inspired by the planned two-for-one share split unveiled last week.

The move - the firm's third share split in the past year - was aimed at feeding the demand for shares in Japan's core internet stock, which has risen 30-fold in value in the past year.

Kota Nakako, an analyst at Warburg Dillon Read, said: "Probably, Yahoo Japan's (PE) valuation is the highest in Japan, and, of course, much higher than that of its US parent Yahoo Inc."

Despite the huge gap between its market valuation and actual performance, most analysts agree that Yahoo Japan has more upward potential because there is still a lot of money chasing relatively few shares in Japan's youthful internet industry.

Softbank investor

Another reason for the high price is the fact that there are just 4,200 Yahoo Japan shares offered for trading.

Yahoo Japan is owned by Softbank Corp., with 51% of the company, and Yahoo Inc. of the US which has 34%.

Ben Wedmore of HSBC in Tokyo said that the small number of shares available had added scarcity value to them.

He said: "Average volume over the last couple of months was 23 shares a day.

"There are shares where you can only buy a hundred or a thousand at a time. Yahoo is unusual in that the lot size is one, but that's because the price is so high."

Yahoo Japan shares were priced at two million yen when they went public in November 1997.

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See also:
12 Jan 00 |  Business
Japan takes to e-commerce
11 Jan 00 |  Business
Yahoo denies merger plans
18 Jan 00 |  Business
Has Japan turned the corner?

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