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Panasonic pummeled after forecasting massive loss

Shares of Panasonic dropped almost 20% in early trading in Tokyo Thursday after the electronics company posted a loss and dramatically lowered its forecast for the year.

One of the world's largest television manufacturers, Panasonic has been shedding jobs for years amid slack demand. The Japan-based company said Thursday it was suspending its dividend, and that business conditions are expected to become "much more severe."

The company also said it expects a net loss of 765 billion yen this year, or $9.6 billion. Panasonic had previously forecast an annual net income of 50 billion yen.

The dour outlook clearly rattled investors, and put Panasonic shares on track to close at their lowest level in decades.

In a statement, the company cited "deep remaining uncertainty" about the strength of the global economy, especially with headwinds from Europe and slower growth in China.

"The electronics industry continued to be difficult with downturn in digital products, especially flat-panel TVs, and sales decline in electronic components," the company said.

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