VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Shares of Research In Motion Ltd fell almost 5 percent on Monday after an analyst said sales of the iconic BlackBerry smartphone slid in its key North American market in May.
In a double-whammy to the stock, the report came out the same day that Apple Inc is expected to unveil its latest iPhone, which is starting to make deeper inroads into BlackBerry’s once secure corporate market.
“It’s always a tough day for RIM the day that they introduce these iPhones,” said Paradigm Capital analyst Barry Richards.
BlackBerry’s once iron-clad hold on the business market is showing some cracks as companies let their employees try out the iPhone, which has won millions on fans among consumers. [nLDE64K01D]
Shares in RIM fell as low as $56.76 on Nasdaq on Monday, a dip of 4.9 percent. It later rebounded to $57.72, down $1.96 or 3.3 percent.
In Toronto, the stock was down C$2.49 at C$60.74, off an earlier low of C$60.07.
Separately, Piper Jaffray analyst T. Michael Walkley said in a research report on Monday that his North American checks indicate that BlackBerry sales at AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and T-Mobile USA were weaker in May because of increasing competition from handsets featuring Google Inc’s Android software.
Walkley cut his price target on RIM to $66 from $77 and maintained his neutral rating on the stock.
The newness of the Android platform is attracting customers, said Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities.
“There is a lot more (Android) product coming, so that’s what is in particular taking share. The iPhone has been there for a year,” Thornton said.
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is expected to offer the first glimpse of a fourth-generation iPhone at an annual developers’ conference in San Francisco later on Monday.
Few expect major technological advancements from the current model, known as the 3GS. The new iPhone is expected to be faster, sport a front-facing camera for videoconferencing, boast longer battery life and a better screen.
Reporting by Nicole Mordant, additional reporting by Gabriel Madway in San Francisco; editing by Rob Wilson