Shares in Sony Corp <6758.T> gained 5 percent on Friday after the Japanese electronics maker forecast a smaller loss than expected for this year, showing it was making progress in its restructuring.
Sony predicted on Thursday a 110 billion yen ($1.15 billion) operating loss for the year to next March, a second straight year of losses as the global recession batters demand for its array of consumer electronics and a firmer yen cuts into profits and makes its products less price competitive overseas.
The back-to-back losses will be Sony's first since its listing in 1958, but it was 17 percent smaller than a consensus forecast of a 132.9 billion yen loss in a poll of 20 analysts by Thomson Reuter and half the loss booked in the just completed year to March 31.
The results announcement underscored steady restructuring progress, which should help lift forecast earnings, Nikko Citi analyst Kota Ezawa said in a note to clients.
However, we continue to see a concrete growth strategy for the next phase as necessary to picture an uptrend for the shares.
Sony also said it would close 14 percent of its 57 manufacturing sites this year -- slightly more than it previously announced -- and stood by its plan to slash more than 300 billion yen in costs this financial year.
Its shares gained 120 yen to 2,520 yen, outperforming a 1.1 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average <.N225>.
(Reporting by Sachi Izumi)