Sony Climbs as Analysts See Limited Quake Impact on Sensors

  • Shares rise the most in two months, erasing yesterday's slide
  • Sony plants focusing on smartphone sensors are back on-line

Sony Corp. shares climbed the most in two months in Tokyo trading as concerns abated that a quake at the southern Japanese island of Kyushu will cause a major disruption in the supply of image sensors for mobile phones.

The shares rose 6.5 percent to 2,914 yen on Tuesday, the biggest jump since Feb. 15. The stock dropped 6.8 percent yesterday. Sony said only its Kumamoto factory, which focuses on sensors for digital and security cameras, remained offline. The Nagasaki plant, where most of the chips for smartphone customers are made, is operational.

The earthquake last week killed 44 people, derailed a bullet train and forced factory closings at companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Renesas Electronics Corp. Sony’s CMOS sensor chips, which turn light into digital signals, are a key component in digital cameras and smartphones such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone. The stoppage hit Sony’s chip business at a time when demand is slowing and a stronger yen makes it harder to sell products abroad.

“The impact of the Kumamoto earthquakes on the supply of image sensors for
smartphones is likely to be limited,” Masaru Sugiyama, a Tokyo-based analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., wrote in a report today. Sugiyama maintained his buy rating on the company.

Goldman joined Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG, Nomura Holdings Inc. and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in reaffirming recommendations to buy Sony shares in the past two days.

Sony halted production and evacuated the factory following the quake, which struck five days ago. In addition to the Kumamoto, Nagasaki and Oita plants, Sony also makes image sensors in facilities in Kagoshima and Yamagata, manufacturing 68,000 units a month, spokesman Tomio Takizawa said.

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