Shares in Sony surge after swing to profit

(MENAFN- AFP) Sony shares surged nearly 16 percent in Tokyo on Monday after the electronics giant posted a nine-month net profit of almost $2.0 billion thanks to strong sales of its game console and parts for mobile gadgets.

About 30 minutes after the opening bell, Sony was up 11.77 percent at 2,820.0 yen, easing from as high as 2,924.0 yen, or 15.89 percent earlier in the day.

The once-iconic Japanese firm has been working to claw back to profitability under a painful restructuring that has included layoffs and asset sales, including its Manhattan headquarters and laptop division.

Sony, along with rivals Panasonic and Sharp, has struggled in the consumer electronics business that built its global brand, including losing billions of dollars in televisions over the past decade.

The sector has faced fierce competition from lower-cost rivals from South Korea and Taiwan.

In a sign things are on the upswing, Sony said Friday its net profit came in at 236.1 billion yen ($1.95 billion) for the April-December period, reversing a 19.2 billion yen loss a year earlier.

Operating profit more than doubled to 387.1 billion yen, while sales edged up 0.1 percent to 6.28 trillion yen.

Strong sales of its PlayStation video games console and image sensors found in mobile gadgets help it move past years of losses, it said.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was up 1.37 percent at 17,757.57 in early morning trade, as exporters were lifted by a weaker yen and investors reacted positively to last week's surprise interest cut by the Bank of Japan.

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