Sony Corp <6758.T> posted a third-quarter operating profit after a loss a year ago, supported by lower costs and proceeds from asset sales that are helping it offset weak demand for its TVs and other devices.

In the three months to December 31, Sony posted a 46.4 billion yen ($496 million) operating profit, compared with a 91.7 billion yen loss a year ago. The result was below the average 72.1 billion yen profit estimated by six analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Following a 67 billion yen loss in the previous business year, Sony stuck to its full year operating profit forecast of 130 billion yen, compared with a consensus estimate of 119 billion yen of 19 analysts.

Since the start of the year Sony's shares have gained nearly 60 percent, rebounding from 30-year lows, compared with a 9 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei 225 <.N225>. ($1 = 93.5450 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Richard Pullin)