Nintendo's Real Deal

Nintendo's (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) Wii is well known for being a heck of a lot of fun, but its financial results are a little less entertaining. The Japanese video game concern has reported its latest numbers, but investors will have to do some digging to get the real scoop on its most recent quarter.

News agencies are reporting smashing results for Nintendo, but the figures most are reporting are for the last nine months, not the last three. We can, of course, break out the holiday quarter with a little bit of effort.

Using the Dec. 31, 2007, exchange rate to convert yen to dollars, Nintendo's third-quarter net income actually increased 63% to $1.1 billion (126.5 billion yen), which exceeded expectations, and its net sales increased 50% to $5.4 billion (621.6 billion yen). Operating income surged by 104%. These are, of course, impressive figures, but they're also a little less bombastic than the nine-month figures. Nintendo also said its sales and operating profits for the full year will exceed previous expectations, and of course that's good news.   

As expected, the holiday quarter went well for the Wii, despite stiff competition from Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Xbox and Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) PlayStation 3. Nintendo sold 6.96 million Wii units in the holiday quarter -- about the same number it sold in the entire first half of the year. Yep, the Wii certainly was popular for Christmas. (Nintendo has sold a total of 20 million Wiis in a little more than 12 months.)

I totally understand why David Gardner recommended Nintendo for Motley Fool Stock Advisor. The Wii has been one of the most exciting stories of 2007; its success certainly bodes well for the entire video game industry, including names like Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS  ) and Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI  ) (also Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations). The Wii is helping to jettison video gaming from a niche pastime to one with mainstream appeal. And of course, Nintendo also makes the Nintendo DS and plenty of popular software, like the Mario Brothers franchise.  

Personally, I prefer stocks with much more publicly available information and financials that are easier to dig into, preferably those not listed on the Pink Sheets. Of course, many solid international companies are listed on the Pink Sheets, like Nintendo and Tesco (OTC BB: TSCDY.PK), but there are a lot of sketchy Pink Sheets stocks to stay away from, too. However, if you have a yen for yen and you don't mind currency conversions or breaking out quarterly results -- and if the lack of certain information sources, like SEC filings and quarterly conference calls, is OK by you -- Nintendo certainly may deserve a place on your watch list.   

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