RIM shares leap 14% on BlackBerry hope

  • Article by: HUGO MILLER , Bloomberg News
  • Updated: November 23, 2012 - 8:58 PM

Sales could be higher than expected, analysts say.

NEW YORK - Research In Motion Ltd. jumped 14 percent in New York trading on Friday, after an 18 percent gain in Toronto on Thursday on rising optimism over the BlackBerry maker's newest smartphones.

RIM climbed $1.40 to close at $11.66. The U.S. markets were closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday. While RIM has rallied 47 percent in November, it is still down 20 percent for the year.

RIM's Canadian shares had their biggest gain in more than three years Thursday after National Bank Financial lifted its price target for U.S. shares to $15 from $12, saying new BlackBerry 10 sales should be better than expected. It followed a Nov. 20 report from Jefferies & Co. that said chances are improving that the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones will revive sales when they hit stores in February.

RIM should ship about 35.5 million BlackBerry 10 units next fiscal year, said National Bank's Kris Thompson, up from a previous estimate of 31.6 million. Most analysts had expected sales to start in March, said Toronto-based Thompson.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, needs a hit with BlackBerry 10 models to start winning back market share lost to Apple's iPhone and devices running Google's Android software. Chief Executive Thorsten Heins has been traveling the globe in recent weeks, meeting carriers and corporate customers to talk up BlackBerry 10's features.

Thompson said that part of the reason he lifted his sales estimates was the "positive sentiment building in the industry."

Eric Jackson, president of Naples, Fla.-based Ironfire Capital, is one skeptic who has been won over. After betting on RIM shares to fall in the past, Jackson said Thursday he recently bought the stock because he expects a surge of upgrades from loyal BlackBerry customers.

"Most are greatly underestimating how many loyal subscribers will upgrade to BB10 in calendar 2013," Jackson said. "All those pending upgrades are currently not factored into the stock."

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