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The securities arm of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE:MTU) downgraded Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE) to a "3" from a "2" based on a heavily downward revised forecast of its expected PlayStation 3 shipments. The downgrade didn't affect Sony's shares much which closed 0.19% lower at 5,250 yen ($45.39). However, if the bearish stance on Sony by Merrill Lynch and now Mitsubishi UFJ turn out to be correct then Sony shareholders can't say they weren't warned.

Remember that Merrill Lynch (MER) has been rather accurate all along in its negative takes on Sony and the PlayStation 3. Earlier research reports cited expected problems with suppliers and also said unit costs would come in significantly higher than rivals.

Citing issues with parts suppliers Mitsubishi forecasts Sony will only be able to ship 3 million units following its launch of the PS3 versus the 6 million Sony has said it expects to ship. Although Sony's loss as related to its Gaming unit will be smaller given the fewer units shipped, this will have a negative impact over the longer-term as it will take more time for Sony to recoup its costs.

Sony's ADRs closed yesterday at $45.02.

Separately, a Google News/Finance search on Sony yields a number of interesting articles today:

Sony buys Web video site Grouper (Reuters)

Sony to offer 27 PS3 games at Tokyo Game Show (Reuters)

Sony puts Opera in its mylo communicator (Inquirer, UK)

Sony Bets on China to Overtake Japan in Sales in Three Years
(Bloomberg)

Lastly, compared to some of Sony's recent woes (i.e. Dell notebook battery recall) and growing concern about its PS3 launch, Nintendo can't seem to do anything wrong -- read a post from earlier today about Nintendo's run not being over yet.

In a positive development for Sony, see Carl Howe's Sony's PS3 Ahead of Pace Set by Microsoft Last Year.

Sony Corp (SNE) 1-year chart:

Source: Sony Downgraded by Mitsubishi UFJ Re. PS3 Launch