Sony Corp. USA To own 38% of EMI Music Publishing, No Official Word on Staffing

Sony Corp's shares bounced back from two-month lows after the electronics conglomerate said this year's operating profit would match last year's, easing worries about the impact of the March earthquake.

Separately, Sony said on Tuesday websites in four countries were hacked in the latest of a series of security breaches.

Among the break-ins, personal information for 8,500 people was leaked from its Greek Sony Music Entertainment website. CNET reported Tuesday that Sony Musc Entertainment Japan's site had apparently been hacked as well.

A spokeswoman for Sony's Sony Ericsson mobile phone venture with Sweden's Ericsson said that some 2,000 customer data records were taken from a server that ran a shopping website in Canada.

The company said all four sites have been taken down and that no credit card information had been registered.

In its first estimate for the year to March 2012, Sony said operating profit would come in around 200 billion yen ($2.44 billion), prompting Macquarie to raise its rating on the stock to "outperform" from "neutral." Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and UBS reiterated their "overweight," "buy" or "outperform" ratings.

Shares in Sony, the maker of PlayStation video games and Vaio computers, ended up 2.7 percent, outperforming a 0.4 percent rise in Tokyo's electrical machinery subindex .IELEC.T. Sony's shares had dipped nearly 1 percent in early trade, to their lowest level since the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

Analysts said Sony had provided markets with a realistic view of the impact of the quake and the PlayStation network hacking, both of which had weighed on the shares.

Sony said it expects the quake and the hacking incident to drag down operating profit by 164 billion yen in the current financial year. In contrast, the decline in Sony's market capitalization of 264 billion yen since the quake "looks overdone," Macquarie analyst Jeff Loff wrote in a report.

"With shares cheap and cost impacts one-time in nature, we expect the stock to reverse its fall."

Sony expects to report a net loss of 260 billion yen ($3.2 billion) for the year ended March 31, its third straight annual net loss, after writing off tax credits following Japan's earthquake and tsunami.