Sony outlook falls short of expectations

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Sony outlook falls short of expectations

Sony has forecast annual profit that misses analyst estimates, as Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai counts on new Xperia smartphones and Bravia TVs to regain market share from Samsung Electronics.

Net income may rise to 50 billion yen ($507 million) in the year started April 1 from 43 billion yen a year earlier, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement yesterday. The projection compares with the 66.4 billion yen average of 18 analyst estimates.

Job cuts, asset sales, a weaker yen and blockbuster movies, such as “The Amazing Spider-Man,” helped Hirai return Sony to profitability last year as the electronics business struggles to lure consumers from Apple. Sony’s smartphones were outsold six to one by Samsung’s in the last quarter of 2012, and the PlayStation 4 console set for release this year faces a shrinking market for game hardware.

“It depends on whether it can produce hit products,” said Takashi Oba, a senior strategist at Okasan Securities. “It’s heading to a good direction from a bad one.”

Sony posted its first full-year net profit in five years after the company generated about $2 billion in one-time gains selling stock holdings and properties including its New York headquarters, a chemicals unit and shares in health-care data provider M3. Sony’s movie studio finished first last year in U.S. box-office sales with $1.84 billion in receipts.

Operating profit may rise to 230 billion yen, the company said. That compares with the 208 billion yen average of analyst estimates. Sales will increases 10 percent from a year earlier to 7.5 trillion yen, Sony said. That compares with the 7 trillion yen average of analyst estimates for revenue. Bloomberg

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