BlackBerry maker wins vote of confidence ahead of BB10

Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:49am EST
 
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By Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd, for months enveloped by a wave of negative sentiment, got a boost on Tuesday when one of its most influential critics raised his rating on the stock ahead of the launch of RIM's make-or-break new line of BlackBerry 10 devices.

The upgrade by Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek pushed RIM's share price into double digits for the first time in five months, with the stock up more than 3 percent at $10.04 in early trading on the Nasdaq.

Misek based his more optimistic view of the BB10 launch, set for January 30, on a favorable reaction by telecom carriers to the devices and the new operating system that powers them.

"Preliminary results from our quarterly handset survey indicate developed market carriers have a much more positive view of BB10 than we expected," Misek said in a note to clients.

Shares of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, a one-time leader in the smartphone industry, have plummeted in recent years as its aging line-up of devices lost ground to faster and snazzier devices from rivals. The company has bet its future on the new BB10.

RIM hopes BB10 smartphones will help claw back market share it has lost in recent years to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices that run on Google Inc's Android operating system.

Misek, who doubled his price target on shares of RIM to $10 from $5, also raised his rating on the stock to "hold" from "underperform".

"With greater carrier shelf space and marketing support, we now believe BB10 has a 20 percent to 30 percent probability of success," said Misek, who has long been skeptical of RIM's odds of engineering a turnaround.   Continued...

 
A BlackBerry device is shown in front of products displayed in a glass cabinet at the Research in Motion offices in Waterloo November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Cassese