Tokyo: Japan'sNintendo shocked investors last week by lowering its profit forecast for the year. Analysts are concerned Sony could be next.
At least nine analysts cut profit estimates for Sony over the past two months after slow holiday sales of televisions, personal computers and cameras.
Net income will be 23.1 billion yen ($221 million) for the year ending March, more than 20 per cent less than Sony's latest forecast, the average of 20 brokerage estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Shrinking demand for TVs and PCs is increasing pressure on Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai as he tries to wring benefits out of the company's holdings, from consumer electronics to mobile phones to entertainment.
After a surprise quarterly loss, a further miss may force Hirai to revisit more drastic ideas, including reassessing TV and PC manufacturing. "There will likely be a downward revision," said Takashi Watanabe, a Tokyo-based analyst at Goldman Sachs Group who forecasts Sony will post an annual net loss of 33.2 billion yen. "Sony's core operation continues to erode."
The company dropped 0.1 per cent to close at 1,763 yen in Tokyo trading. The shares have declined 3.5 per cent this year compared with the Topix index which has lost 2.9 per cent over the same period.
George Boyd, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Sony, declined to comment. The company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on February 6. Nintendo, which competes with Sony in game consoles, this month forecast a 35 billion-yen operating loss, compared with its previous projection of a 100 billion-yen profit.
Yasuo Nakane, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, cut his full-year estimate to 5.12 billion yen on December 24 from 29 billion yen and said he expected Sony to announce further structural reforms next month.
Atul Goyal of Jefferies almost halved his projection to 18 billion yen from 35 billion yen on January 15. Both analysts rate the stock hold.