Report of big '08 loss smacks Sony shares

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Shares of Sony Corp. fell Tuesday as some investors bet that a Japanese media report predicting the consumer electronics giant's first annual loss since 1995 might indeed come true amid increasing business challenges.

Reduced consumer spending has hit most companies, including Sony's big electronics division. Fellow electronics maker Toshiba signaled Tuesday that it might have to reduce its earnings projections. A strong yen also has strained financial momentum of Japanese giants.

No wonder investors bought a report by Japan's Nikkei that said Sony would swing to an operating loss of about ¥100 billion ($1.1 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 31, compared with company guidance for a profit of $2.2 billion.

Sony didn't do much to reassure investors. "Sony understands that a story appeared in the media regarding Sony's expectations on operating results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009," it said. "Sony has made no announcement in this regard and at this time has no further comment."

In Tokyo trading, Sony shares lost 8.9%, while in the U.S., American depository shares of Sony fell 3.7% to $22.24.

Investors now expect an update by Jan. 29, when Sony is scheduled to release its earnings report for its fiscal third quarter. (partialdiff)
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