BlackBerry shares jump after Bernstein upgrades stock
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO (Reuters) - Shares of BlackBerry rose more than 12 percent on Monday after Bernstein Research said it was upgrading the stock to "outperform" after last week's launch of the company's new line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
The brokerage firm, which has not had an "outperform" rating on the stock for more than three years, also lifted its price target to $22 from $12, saying it has grown much more confident about the success of the smartphones, powered by the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.
Shares of BlackBerry, which is in the process of changing its legal name from Research In Motion, rose 12.2 percent to $14.63 in midday Nasdaq trading. BlackBerry's Toronto-listed shares were up 12.1 percent at C$14.59 at 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT).
The stock began trading under the "BBRY" symbol on Nasdaq on Monday and under the "BB" symbol on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The stock used to trade as "RIMM" on the Nasdaq and "RIM" on the TSX.
"We upgrade BlackBerry to outperform today as we believe BB 10 is set for a strong launch," Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu said in a note to clients. "Even if the long-term prospects for the platform are very uncertain, we believe all is in place for BlackBerry 10 to enjoy a great debut."
BlackBerry, a one-time pioneer in the smartphone industry, has ceded market share in recent years to the likes of Apple's iPhone, Samsung's Galaxy line and a slew of devices powered by Google Inc's market-leading Android operating system.
In a make-or-break move to regain market share and return to profit, BlackBerry introduced its new line of smartphones to much fanfare on Wednesday. However, its stock fell more than 10 percent following the launch as investors were disappointed that the new smartphones will only go on sale in mid-March in the crucial U.S. market.
"The strength of this launch is overlooked by investors, creating strong opportunity to buy BlackBerry," said Ferragu, adding that he expects strong initial corporate demand for the new devices. Continued...