It may not be as far-fetched as the CIA sending a celebrity tabloid show host and his producer to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Yet a 43 per cent rally in the shares of money-losing Sony Corp is pretty remarkable. Sony has delivered a one-year return that is on par with that of Apple and is one of the top performing stocks in Japan this year, easily beating gains of about 9 per cent in Japan's Nikkei 225 and Topix benchmark indices. This is the same Sony that is forecasting to lose 230 billion yen (HK$14.8 billion) for the fiscal year to March. Sony Pictures Entertainment, meanwhile, has had sensitive corporate emails and film properties hacked. Even so, 65 per cent of the Sony analysts tracked by Bloomberg continue to have buy ratings on the stock and have an average 12-month share price estimate of 2,804 yen, or about 10 per cent higher than the current price. "Although the Sony Pictures Entertainment leak was a big scandal in the news, from a financial performance perspective it is not that significant," said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute. Yasuda said Sony's film business only accounted for about 20 billion yen to 30 billion yen of total operating income. He credits his bullish outlook to strong sales at the PlayStation 4 franchise, the company's advanced image sensors used in smartphones, high-end digital cameras and the weaker yen. "I am expecting there are a lot of other segments that are going to grow significantly in the next fiscal year," he said. In recent weeks, Sony has come under fire for its handling of the release of The Interview , a satirical film that the FBI believes triggered a cyber-attack by North Korea. Sony originally cancelled the film's release but then put it online and in more than 300 US cinemas. While a restructuring push by Sony chief executive Kazuo Hirai and his new chief financial officer Kenichiro Yoshida has yet to restore the diversified consumer electronics and entertainment giant to financial health, analysts are optimistic it will. Macquarie Group analyst Damian Thong is forecasting 201 billion yen in net income for Sony in the fiscal year to March 2016, and 236 billion yen two years after that. Sony has taken steps to exit slow-growth businesses. In February, it announced plans to sell off its Vaio computer division to a Japanese investment fund. Selling off more assets is still being discussed. Emails released by hackers in recent weeks also show that Yoshida raised questions in October about the future of the firm's music-publishing business. "I'd like to hear your thoughts on the music publishing business, which has a rather complex capital and governance structure and is impacted by the market shift to streaming," Yoshida wrote in the message. Exiting non-core businesses and commodity consumer electronics could position Sony to earn 450 billion yen or more in operating profit, Jefferies Group analyst Atul Goyal wrote in a research note to clients this month. Reviving Sony's unprofitable electronics division, which Goyal values at zero, remains a challenge. Sony is forecasting declining revenue over the next three years for its television and camera businesses. Yet, if the company can stabilise those businesses, the Sony bulls see the company's PlayStation franchise, financial services division, image sensor business and film content powering earnings over the next three years. Sony Pictures Entertainment will not suffer any lasting damage from the bad publicity over the hack and handling of The Interview release, according to Yasuda. "There are still people who will go to movies made by Sony," he said.