Restaurant Stock Leaps 29% on Report of Panda Pregnancy at Tokyo Zoo

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Shares of a Tokyo-based Chinese restaurant operator surged after a nearby zoo said one of its pandas may be pregnant, stoking investor speculation of increased foot traffic in the area.

Totenko Co. stock jumped as much as 29%, the most in almost four years, after Ueno Zoo said that its giant panda Shin Shin may be expecting. The stock closed 9.4% higher after giving up much of the gains. The zoo announced in March that Shin Shin and Ri Ri had mated twice. Seiyoken, another nearby eatery, rose 8.1%, with trading more than 17 times the three-month average.

Restaurant Stock Leaps 29% on Report of Panda Pregnancy at Tokyo Zoo

The restaurant stock has served as a gauge for panda-related news in the past. In February 2017, Totenko shares also jumped after Ueno Zoo announced that the same pair of pandas had mated. Shares surged again when Shin Shin gave birth to a cub the same year in June. Totenko gained in 2013 after Shin Shin appeared to be pregnant, but slumped when the zoo announced that she was only displaying false signs of pregnancy.

Restaurant Stock Leaps 29% on Report of Panda Pregnancy at Tokyo Zoo

The news coincides with the reopening of the popular Ueno Zoo today, which had been closed since December amid the coronavirus infection outbreak in Tokyo. Visits require a reservation and the zoo is limiting visitors to 2,000 a day under infection prevention protocols. The pandas are one of the main draws to the zoo, with Shin Shin and Ri Ri’s daughter Xiang Xiang, who turns 4 this month, one of the first things people can see if they enter by the main entrance. The parents are housed at a separate enclosure called the Panda Forest on the other side of the park and visitors won’t get to see Shin Shin due to her condition, the zoo said.

When asked by Japanese media about the Ueno Zoo panda at a regular press briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that he had not seen the relevant reports, but described the giant panda as a “national treasure” and an “envoy for friendship.”

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