Japan's Panasonic Corp reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss as it cut costs to fight a firmer yen and weak TV and digital camera demand, and it stood by its annual outlook for its net loss to shrink by half.
Panasonic, which competes with Sony Corp for the title of the world's largest consumer electronics maker, logged a net loss of 52.98 billion yen ($559 million) in April-June, down from a 73 billion yen profit a year earlier.
The result compares with the consensus of a 58.3 billion yen loss in a poll of four analysts polled by Reuters.
Panasonic's TV and digital camera operations came under pressure as the global downturn forced consumers to tighten their purse strings, while sluggish corporate capital spending hit sales of factory automation equipment.
For the year to March, the world's No.1 plasma TV maker kept its net loss forecast of 195 billion yen. That is half last year's 379 billion yen loss, but worse than analysts' estimate of a 185 billion yen loss. Shares in Panasonic, which offers Viera flat TVs and Lumix digital cameras, closed up 0.1 percent at 1,502 yen ahead of the announcement on Monday, in line with the Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index, which rose 0.4 percent.
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Lincoln Feast)