Despite high yen, Japan's electronics sales soar

Japan's giant electronics companies, which were expected to face hard times after the October stock market plunge, will instead post glowing results for the year ended March 31, analysts here say. Toshiba, Fujitsu, NEC, and others will report this week double- and triple-digit rises in operating profit, far above forecasts six months ago, they said.

``We've come from the extremes of bad forecasts to a very buoyant outlook,'' said Carole Ryavec, vice-president, Japanese equities research, at Salomon Brothers Asia Ltd.

``The original forecast after `Black Monday' was for an immediate and deep downturn in spending, especially in the United States,'' Ms. Ryavec said.

In Japan and the US, purchases of personal computers and peripheral equipment are robust. Semiconductor prices and profits have soared. A Japanese housing boom is spurring buying of expensive items like big-screen televisions, they said.

The strong yen, which has risen 50 percent against the dollar since late 1985, hit these companies' earnings hard in 1986-87, which will make the profit increases look even more dramatic, analysts said.

The companies have overcome the yen's rise to some extent by expanding overseas output, cutting costs, and raising prices.

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