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Sony Reports Sluggish Quarterly Earnings - 2003-07-25

Media and electronics giant Sony posted weak earnings figures for the April to June quarter because of poor sales in several core businesses such as movies and television sets. Sony's profit plunged 98 percent from a year earlier to $9 million. The result follows a large loss in the previous three months.

Sony is overhauling some of its key divisions to streamline management and combine its entertainment units and electronic hardware business.

Sony's Chief Financial Officer, Takao Yuhara, says he has a brighter outlook for the rest of the year and expects business conditions to pick up in the coming months thanks to improved consumer demand. In the automobile industry, Japan's top car maker has raised its global sales target for the year. Toyota expects a six percent rise in sales from last year to nearly six million vehicles, due to a gradual recovery in the world economy.

Toyota's President Fujio Cho says he wants to maintain the improved momentum his company experienced in the first half of the year. He adds that he hopes to surpass sales records for the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Meanwhile, Japan's trade surplus dropped more than 30 percent in June, from the same month last year, to $7.2 billion. That is the first decline in three months and a smaller surplus than many economists had forecast.

Japan's exports to the United States, its top trading partner, have been declining for six months. Its surplus with the rest of Asia dropped in June for the first time in nearly a year and a half.