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Sharp Corp. shares tumble on first-half report showing loss

TOKYO -- Sharp Corp. shares tumbled on Thursday after a report that the struggling consumer electronics giant lost 400 billion yen (US$5 billion) in the first six months of its fiscal year.

The Japanese company's expected shortfall, reported in the Nikkei business daily, was nearly double an earlier forecast for a 210 billion yen loss and underscores an increasingly dire outlook for the century-old firm.

Sharp's Tokyo-traded shares lost 4.19 percent to 160 yen by the close.

The firm's share price plunged to four-decade lows in August when it reported a quarterly loss of about US$1.76 billion, prompting Standard & Poor's to cut its credit rating to junk status.

The Osaka-based maker of Aquos-brand televisions has struggled amid fierce overseas competition and a strong yen, with the bigger-than-expected loss tied largely to writedowns of its LCD panel inventories caused by weak demand and heavy restructuring costs, the Nikkei said.

A Sharp statement responding to the Nikkei story said only that the company had not officially announced any changes to its earlier earnings projections. Its half-year results are due on Nov. 1.

An expected capital injection from Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, which makes Apple gadgets in China, has stalled, with U.S. chip giant Intel emerging as a possible tie-up partner for the Japanese firm.

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