RIM shares yo-yo on speculation, Apple event

Tue Oct 4, 2011 5:27pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares in Research In Motion ended 2 percent higher in yo-yo trade on Tuesday after rival Apple hinted at threats to RIM's core corporate market, but failed to wow fans and investors with its latest iPhone.

The BlackBerry maker's stock started the day with a surge of nearly 10 percent on talk that it had hired an investment bank revived speculation could be a takeover target.

But the stock then reversed course, slumping to its lowest in almost six years, as Apple CEO Tim Cook said major corporations were mulling a switch to the iPhone and iPad and spoke about iMessage, a real-time instant messaging service that could threaten the popular BlackBerry Messenger.

Cook said 93 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying the iPhone, and 92 percent are considering or using the iPad - developments that could give Apple an edge in the corporate market where RIM's BlackBerry made its name.

Apple also said iMessage would be available on suddenly cheaper iPhone 4 and 3GS models.

But with Apple launching only an incremental iPhone improvement, RIM shares recovered and closed 2.4 percent higher at $21 on the Nasdaq. Apple stock ended lower.

Both Messenger and its secure corporate email system have been big draws for RIM in the past. But the company has rapidly lost market share in the United States as customer switch to sleeker models from Apple or powered by Google's Android operating system.

Avian Securities analyst Matthew Thornton said traders likely exited RIM short positions - bets that RIM's share price would fall further - on the morning's takeover speculation and then shorted the stock again ahead of the Apple event.   Continued...

<p>Blackberry devices are displayed at a release party to promote the BlackBerry OS 7 devices in Toronto August 3, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>