Sony shares rally on hopes it could see the best profit in 20 years
Sony’s shares popped on Monday after the company raised its earnings outlook and analysts said the company could hit profit levels not seen in 20 years.
The Japanese electronic giant’s stock closed 3.84 percent higher in Tokyo.
On Friday after the market close, Sony raised its earnings outlook for the fiscal year ended March 31. It said operating income would be 285 billion yen ($2.6 billion), up from a previous forecast of 240 billion yen. Pre-tax profit is expected to come in at 250 billion yen, up from February’s forecast of 196 billion yen.
“The forecast for consolidated operating income has been revised upward due to expected improvement, compared with the February forecast, in all segments other than the components segment, which is expected to deteriorate compared with the February forecast,” Sony said in its statement on Friday.
“The primary reasons for the upward revision in the segments that are anticipated to improve are expected decreases in amortization of deferred insurance acquisition costs and other costs in the Financial Services segment and lower costs than anticipated in February in the other segments, particularly Semiconductors.”
Under CEO Kazuo Hirai, Sony has been focusing on making previously loss-making areas like smartphones profitable and doubling down on segments of strong growth like its PlayStation gaming business and semiconductors.
Analysts are bullish on Sony’s stock which is up over 23 percent in the last 12 months. The company has 7 strong buy ratings, 13 buys, 3 holds and 1 sell, with an average price target of 4,245 yen per share. This represents a rise of nearly 14 percent from the current 3,730 yen share price.
In a note on Friday, Goldman Sachs reiterated its buy rating and price target of 4,600 yen. The investment bank also added that it expects Sony to report operating profit guidance of at least 500 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in March 2018. If it is achieved, it would be the first time Sony has reported operating profit above 500 billion yen since 31 March 1998.
“We think the stock market will soon factor in the next growth phase into the share price. We expect this growth to hinge on games/movies/music, backed by global content price increases and delivery method diversification,” Goldman Sachs said in its research note.