Sony Collapse Crushes Japan Stocks (SNE)

The news that Sony (SNE) may post an operating loss for the first time since 1995 clobbered Japan’s stock market, with the NIKKEI falling almost 5%. Blame Sony’s wheezing PS3 and TV businesses and the rising yen.

AP: Sony’s shares plunged Tuesday on reports that the iconic Japanese electronics maker is sinking into its first yearly operating loss in 14 years as sales fizzle for digital cameras, flat-panel TVs and other gadgets.

The media reports, coming just weeks after Toyota forecast its first annual operating loss in 70 years, highlight the pain even Japan’s premier brands are suffering amid the global slowdown.

The nation’s top business daily The Nikkei reported Tuesday that Sony was expected to rack up a 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) operating loss this fiscal year ending March, its first since 1995.

Behind the dismal outlook are faltering sales of liquid crystal display TVs and other goods, especially in the key U.S. and European markets, The Nikkei said, adding that operating losses could balloon to as much as 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion).

Tokyo-based Sony Corp. declined comment.

The last — and only — time Sony racked up an operating loss, for the fiscal year ending March 1995, the red ink came from one-time losses in its movie division, marred by box office flops and lax cost controls, and its core electronics unit was booming.

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