Tim Culpan is a technology columnist for Bloomberg Gadfly. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.

Sony Corp.'s 101.4 billion yen ($920 million) increase in operating profit for the June quarter helped it beat estimates for that metric by 18 percent. 

Operating income came in at 157.6 billion yen, beating the 133.3 billion yen average of analysts' expectations.

Investors shouldn't cheer too loudly, though, because more than two-thirds of that increase came from one-time items in the most recent period, or the lack of similar line items a year earlier.

Income Breakdown
Most of Sony's operating profit growth came from a compilation of one-time items rather than organic business expansion
Source: Sony
Note: Figures show net effect on incremental operating profit from one-time gains in current quarter, or absence of one-time expenses in prior year.

More than a quarter of the increase derived from a 27.5 billion-yen gain for the semiconductor division after selling Sony Electronics Hunan Co., the company said Tuesday. Insurance recoveries from last year's Kumamoto quake also boosted the bottom line. At the same time, last year's figure was depressed by single events including impairment charges and quake-related losses.

Removing all of those effects, Sony's operating profit would have expanded 31.4 billion yen -- or just 31 percent of the scale of the reported climb.

That still makes for an impressive 58 percent increase, but not the standout figure the headlines suggest.

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