Sony Returns to Annual Profit: Ahead of the Ticker

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sony ( SNE) swung to its first annual profit in five years, boosted by a weaker yen, sales of assets and success at the box office.

The electronics giant reported profit of $948 million for its fiscal fourth quarter. It reported annual earnings that rose to $434 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, up from a loss of $5.7 billion a year ago. Its annual earnings beat its own forecast for a profit of $404 million, as well as analysts' expectations for a profit of $333 million, according to FactSet.

Sony's movie unit reported a 40% increase in operating profit to $484 million for the full year on the success of films like "Skyfall" and "The Amazing Spider-Man," which helped offset the weaker "Total Recall" at the box office.

The company continues to see weakness, however, in its device, digital camera and game sectors. Its games unit saw a 12.2% drop in sales to $7.15 billion and a 94% drop in operating profit to $17.2 million on slipping demand on PlayStation-related products.

For the current fiscal year, ending in March 2014, Sony said it expects a net profit of $506 million and an operating profit of $2.3 billion.

Nokia ( NOK) unveiled a $99 smartphone available in emerging markets.

The phone maker announced the Nokia Asha 501, a smartphone with a 3-inch screen, 3.2-megapixel camera and 17 hours of talk time. The company said the phone has 4 gigabytes of memory, which can be expanded to 32 gigabytes.

Nokia also revealed the software the phone will run on, which is called the Asha platform. It is a revamped version of older software which, like Nokia's higher-end Lumia smartphone, allows users to swipe from side to side in order to use multiple applications at once. An agreement with Facebook ( FB) and Indian wireless carrier Bharti Airtel will enable Asha users in India and Africa to access the social network without incurring data fees.

Nokia plans to begin selling the device for $99 plus taxes and subsidies by June in 90 countries.

The company has struggled amid competition from the likes of Apple ( AAPL) and Samsung. Chief Executive Office Stephen Elop attributed plunging sales of mobile phones in the first quarter to competition. He said the company expects Asha devices and competitive pricing will help attract more customers.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMCR) expanded its partnership with Starbucks ( SBUX) for at least the next five years.

Per the agreement, Starbucks will continue making coffee and tea K-cups for use in Keurig single-serve brewing machines, while also adding new brands like Seattle's Best Coffee and Teavana teas. It's been producing Starbucks and Tazo K-cups since the companies' partnership began in 2011. The companies said they plan to expand global marketing of the products as well.

The announcement puts to rest speculation that Starbucks would end the partnership after introducing the Verismo, its own single-serve brewer that competes with Keurig machines.

Green Mountain reported stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Wednesday. The company said it earned 93 cents per share for the quarter, beating analysts' estimates of 73 cents. The company said its single-serve business experienced 16% growth in the quarter.

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-- Written by Brittany Umar.
Brittany joined TV in November 2006 after completing a degree in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers College. Previously, Brittany interned at the local ABC affiliate in New York City WABC-TV 7 where she helped research and produce On Your Side, a popular consumer advocacy segment.