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Japanese Electronics Makers Mostly Up

Fiscal first-quarter results showed mostly positive news due to electronics makers reshaping their businesses and healthy global demand for flat-panel TVs.

TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese electronics makers reporting fiscal first-quarter results Thursday mostly reported better fortunes, as a reshaping of their businesses and healthy global demand for flat-panel TVs worked as big pluses.

Robust demand for liquid crystal displays for TVs were behind Sharp Corp.'s 2.8 percent rise in quarterly profit to 24.89 billion yen ($232.6 million). Sales of solar cells also helped boost profit, it said.

Osaka-based Sharp's quarterly sales dipped 6 percent to 747.88 billion yen ($6.99 billion) as a yen that gained against the dollar from the previous year eroded the value of Sharp's overseas sales.

All Japanese electronics makers are fighting fears of a slowdown in consumer spending in the U.S., which has been beset by mortgage market woes. The strengthening yen is also weighing on the Japanese.

Hitachi Ltd. marked a turnaround for the quarter ended June 30 from losses the previous year on brisk sales in data communication systems and electric power equipment as well as a recovery in its flat-panel TV business.

Hitachi, based in Tokyo, reported 31.5 billion yen ($292 million) April-June profit as sales climbed 3 percent to 2.54 trillion yen ($23.52 billion).

Similarly, Fujitsu Ltd. posted a 300 million yen ($2.8 million) profit in the fiscal first quarter, a reversal from a 14.7 billion yen loss the same period the previous year.

Quarterly sales inched up nearly 1 percent to 11.77 trillion yen ($108.9 billion). Sales were good in the information technology services business, as well as mobile phone and personal computer operations, according to Fujitsu.

Less fortunate was NEC Corp., whose profit for the quarter dipped to about half of what it was a year earlier to 500 million yen ($4.6 million). Quarterly sales edged down by nearly 1 percent to 1.0 trillion yen ($9.3 billion).

Demand for computer network systems and personal computers declined, and an improvement in cell phone demand was not enough to offset that damage, NEC said.

Earlier in the week, Sony Corp. reported a plunge in profit, while Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic products, had good results.

The contrast underlines how differences in strategies are producing mixed results among Japan's electronics giants as they try to ride out global competition, the damage from the strong yen and falling gadget prices.

Sony's April-June profit plunged to 35 billion yen ($327 million) -- about half recorded a year ago -- as faltering results at its cell phone operations, a joint venture with Ericsson, battered earnings.

Sony lowered its full year profit forecast to 240 billion yen ($2.24 billion) from an earlier forecast of 290 billion yen ($2.71 billion), blaming poor results expected at Sony Ericsson.

Matsushita's profit nearly doubled on year to 73 billion yen ($682 million) on solid global demand for flat-panel TVs and digital cameras.

Associated Press writers Yuri Kageyama and Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.

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