Nikon Stocks Tumbling Following Lowered Forecast, Others Bleed

While the Japanese stock market is rising, Nikon’s stocks are tumbling following dreadful news for the camera manufacturer, according to Bloomberg News (by way of Mirrorless Rumors). While the Japanese market saw gains, the report cited two major Japanese manufacturers, Nikon and Sharp for their terrible performance, and their likelihood of future terrible performance.

Nikon plunged 11 percent, the most since August 2013 and the biggest drop on the Nikkei 225. The camera maker forecast 30 billion yen in operating profit for the year ending March, missing the 49.8 billion yen estimate of analysts. The company also slashed its 2017 operating-profit target to 38 billion yen, down from 110 billion yen in June.
Sharp tumbled 7 percent to 186 yen, its lowest close since 2012. The company said it plans to pare its global workforce 10 percent and take another lifeline from lenders as it sells its headquarters, exits markets and shrinks its solar business.
“Sharp’s management plan is wishful thinking, just as it was about earnings in the last fiscal year,” Makoto Kikuchi, chief executive officer of Myojo Asset Management, said Thursday.

That $19.8 billion miss from the 49.8 billion yen estimate translates to about a 157,000,000 loss for the year ending in March. That’s not terrible but the drop of the projected 2017 profit has been lowered by about USD$604M a significant drop.

Nikon isn’t the only camera manufacturer hurting amid sluggish or downright disastrous camera sales.

According to, Sony recorded a USD$1.1B loss this year, a slight improvement over the $1.2B loss of the previous year, while it struggles to refinance and deal with a major hacker incident. According to Reuters, Olympus will lose an “extraordinary” 53.9B Yen ($451M) “as allowance on settlement of investigation on subsidiary Olympus Corporation of the Americas, which was disclosed on Feb. 6, for fiscal year ended March 2015.”

Some of the camera companies are doing well. Fujifilm posted a profit, and Canon expects profits to increase 2% in 2015.

The question of course is “what does this mean for the camera market?” and the answer ranges from “nothing much” to “quite a bit.”

With staggering losses, Nikon isn’t likely to jump into the mirrorless space in a big way. The company is unlikely to try to jump into a market that’s dominated by Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji and others without a very clear path to success, and so it’s likely to keep working on their DSLR lineup.

That means that Canon has very little pressure—without the risk of Nikon making a fully pro mirrorless camera there isn’t much reason or Canon to do so, unless Canon decides that creating something they know Nikon can’t produce would pull customers away from Nikon and make the company look weak.

Fuji is likely to continue on doing what it’s doing (if it works, don’t break it) and Sony’s fiscal losses largely come from sectors like gaming and motion pictures. The company’s chip production and cameras are doing well.

We’re unlikely though to head back into an era that looks like the start of the digital photography start, where cameras were rushing to bring new systems to market and models seemed to appear monthly. More measured products with more segmented features and customers are likely to be the next stages in the evolution of digital photography as the camera market erodes to the smartphone.

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