TOKYO, July 27 (Reuters) - Sony Corp. (6758.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) swung to abetter-than-expected quarterly operating profit, propelled byrobust sales of flat TVs and gains from mobile phone jointventure with Ericsson (ERICb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research).

A weaker yen also helped the electronics and entertainmentconglomerate overcome valuation losses at its life insurance unitand start-up costs for its PlayStation 3 game console.

The box-office hit "The Da Vinci Code" boosted Sony's moviedivision sales by 42 percent in the quarter, but marketingexpenses linked to the release of new pictures pushed thebusiness into the red.

Sony will launch PS3, the latest version of its blockbustergame machine, in November. It will compete for holiday buyers'attention with Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s (7974.OS: Quote, NEWS, Research) upcoming Wii andMicrosoft Corp.'s (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) Xbox 360 in the nearly $30 billionvideo game market.

"The first quarter result shows, I think, a strength in theelectronics division, though we have to take into account theeffect of the the yen's weakness during the quarter," said MizuhoSecurities senior analyst Koichi Hariya.

Sony earned an operating profit of 27.05 billion yen ($232.5million) in April-June, topping a consensus forecast of 18billion yen in a poll of seven analysts by Reuters Estimates andswinging from a 6.58 billion yen loss a year earlier.

"The biggest contributing factor was television. It was stillin the red, but we made a substantial progress. We also saw brisksales of digital cameras, and cost cutting measures progressedsmoothly," said Chief Financial Officer Nobuyuki Oneda.

For the full year to next March, Sony revised up itsoperating profit forecast by 30 percent to 130 billion yen due tochanges in its own accounting. It compared with a consensus of159.8 billion yen from 18 brokerages polled by Reuters Estimates.The new forecast compares with a 191.26 billion yen profit lastbusiness year. Continued...

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