Sony Shares Rise After Fixing Leap-Year Glitch, Chilean Mines Reopen


Major indexes were mixed in Asia Tuesday. In Japan, the

Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.5% to 10,222, and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index lost 0.7% to close at 20,906. China's Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.5%, ending the day at 3,073.

Sony (SNE) gained 1.3% in Japanese trading today, after heading off a recall of its popular PlayStation 3. A programming glitch in the game console's internal clock mistakenly treated 2010 as a leap year, preventing millions of players from reaching the online network.
"We have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally," reads a note on Sony's blog, explaining that owners who still experience problems can manually reset the time.

Meanwhile, Sony competitor, Nintendo (NTDOY), maker of the Wii, scored a 3.1% gain today after saying they had sold more than 10 million units in Japan in the past three months, according to

Japanese microchip makers gained value today
. Silicon wafer manufacturer Sumco surged 4.6%; Advantest, which makes chip-testing equipment, climbed 2.3%; Tokyo Electron, a company that makes equipment for the semiconductor industry, rose 2.2%; and computer memory chip maker Elpida Memory gained 2%.

Japanese electronics companies rose, following the news that Americans spent more money than expected in January. With all the gloomy economic news, it seems many are comforting themselves with a trip to the mall, pushing spending up 0.5% in January. Electronics companies that rely on U.S. sales benefited from the news: Toshiba rallied 2%, Sharp advanced 1% and Panasonic and Canon both added 0.8%. Pioneer, which makes stereos and video equipment, however, sank 4.1%.

In Hong Kong, HSBC tumbled 7% and Hang Seng Bank, which is largely owned by HSBC, sank 5.1%. Other Hong Kong-listed banks rose with Bank of China surging 2.6%, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China gaining 1.6% and China Construction Bank rising 1.1%.

Chinese mining shares retreated today after Chilean mines reopened and announced that they would be able to make deliveries. Chile's Codelco supplies an enormous amount of copper to China. Chinese miners, which had soared 10% yesterday, gave back some of those gains today: Yunnan Copper Industry plunged 4.7%, Jiangxi Copper lost 4.6%, Tongling Nonferrous Metals sank 4.4%.

Other miners also closed lower: Datong Coal Industry fell 2.6%, China Shenhua Energy slid 1.6% and China Coal Energy slipped 1.4%. China's pace of growth ensures the need for a steady supply of natural resources.