Japanese electronics giant Sony served up a rare piece of good news this week, posting a quarterly profit for the first time in three years and signaled better times ahead by hiking its full-year forecast.
Thursday's announcement may have cheered markets - Sony shares rose as much as 4 percent in Friday's Tokyo session - but industry watchers remain unconvinced about its profit turnaround.
Sony made a net profit of 3.5 billion yen ($35 million) in the April-to-June quarter, compared to a 2.46 billion yen loss in the year ago period. The firm attributed the gains to a weaker yen, which has declined around 15 percent against the dollar this year, and a rise in smartphone sales at home.
But the maker of PlayStation consoles and Bravia TVs acknowledged the harsh market conditions for consumer electronics, cutting full-year sales targets for products from PCs to televisions to video cameras, and left its full-year profit forecasts unchanged even as it lifted its revenue forecast more than 5 percent.
Paul-Jon McNealy, CEO and founder of Digital World Research, said Sony's profit is a "one-off" and masks the tech giant's fundamental flaw, which is that its vast electronics business remains weak.
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"The problem is it's a one-off uplift. This was the best quarter in three years for all Japanese consumer companies, not just Sony, and it was hugely driven by the yen," said McNealy.