February 13, 2009 / 4:09 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-RESEARCH ALERT-Credit Suisse downgrades RIM

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse downgraded Research in Motion RIMM.O RIM.TO to “underperform” from “neutral” on higher risks to the BlackBerry maker’s earnings, and cut its volume forecast for the smartphone industry, sending the company’s shares down 6 percent.

On Wednesday, the Canadian maker of high-end handsets forecast profit at the low end of expectations as businesses were not buying its latest smartphone upgrades in the economic downturn.

Credit Suisse, which cut its price target on the company’s U.S.-listed shares to $37 from $45, lowered its smartphone industry volume forecast to 154 million in 2009 and 177 million in 2010 amid signs of slowing smartphone growth and concerns over affordability.

The brokerage maintained its view that RIM’s share gains will moderate, given its share loss in North America, but said that this would be offset by some growth in international markets.

The brokerage expects a double-digit decline in RIM’s average selling prices due to its aggressive pricing for virtually all its recent product introductions.

RIM’s global smartphone market share is expected to be 17 percent in 2009, leading to unit volumes of 26 million in fiscal 2009, Credit Suisse said.

Shares of RIM, which competes with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Nokia NOK1V.HE, fell to a low of $47.45 in early morning trade Friday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Shrutika Verma in Bangalore; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)

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