Japan’s consumer electronics industry and related exchange traded fund (ETF) have been battered by recent events, but prudent business practices and a strong name brand could help mitigate the blows.

Sony Corp. (SNE) Chief Executive Howard Stringer is using the recent dismal profit reports and the ailing economy as signs that the 63-year-old electronics and media giant is in need of changes to its long-standing traditions, reports Alex Pham for The Los Angeles Times.

Heavy Losses. Sony recently reported a 25% drop in revenue, to $23.7 billion, and a 95% free-fall in profits, to $114 million, for its fiscal third quarter. The declines are ascribed to global economic downturn, appreciating yen, and stagnate Japanese stock market.

Five Solutions. Stringer has announced plans to close five to six factories, to lay off 8,000 workers and to outsource some tasks to low-wage countries. Top executives will also forgo bonuses and some senior managers will take pay cuts.

Bright Future. Because of increased competition in player consoles, Sony has lost 29% of its unit sales and even saw an operating loss. But Sony has done a relatively decent job of holding onto market share and may even increase its future share.

  • iShares MSCI Japan Index (EWJ): down 0.4% in the last week; down 7.2% in the last month

ETF EWJ

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.