Sony, Panasonic ratings cut

Investor's Business Daily

Fitch cut major Japanese consumer electronics firms Sony's (SNE) debt rating to BB- and Panasonic's (PC) rating to BB, the first time a major rating agency lists either company's debt as junk. Both companies have been struggling as Japanese consumer electronic sales fall. This year, Sharp Corp. needed a $4.5 bil bailout from Japanese banks. Sony, whose Walkman once dominated among portable music players, is investing in new consumer gadgets to try to regain share lost to Apple's (AAPL) iPod. It's also struggling to compete against rival makers of digital cameras and games. Sony dipped 0.5%. Panasonic fell 1%.

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