Research In Motion (RIMM:US) Ltd. surged 18 percent, the most in more than three years, after National Bank Financial said new BlackBerry 10 phone sales should be better than expected.
RIM rose to C$12.06 at the close in Toronto, the biggest gain since April 2009. The gain pared the stock’s loss this year to 19 percent. Trading of RIM shares in New York was closed for Thanksgiving today after the stock gained 5.7 percent to $10.26 yesterday.
RIM’s new BlackBerry 10 phones, scheduled to go on sale in February, should reach about 35.5 million in shipments next fiscal year, said Kris Thompson, a National Bank analyst in Toronto, up from a previous estimate of 31.6 million. Most analysts had expected sales to start in March, he said. He lifted his price target for the U.S. shares to $15 from $12 and kept his rating at the equivalent of a buy.
RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, is counting on BlackBerry 10 to restore its reputation as a smartphone innovator after its aging lineup of devices caused a loss of market share to Apple Inc. (AAPL:US)’s iPhone and devices running Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s Android software. Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear said in an interview this month that the phones will go on sale in February on multiple continents.
Thompson lifted his estimate for shipments to account for an additional month of availability and “a little extra for the positive sentiment building in the industry from our discussions,” he said in a research note dated yesterday.
Eric Jackson, president of Ironfire Capital LLC, which had bet on RIM shares to fall in the past, said he bought the stock yesterday because he expects a surge of upgrades from loyal BlackBerry customers. He declined to say how many shares he acquired.
“Most are greatly underestimating how many loyal subscribers will upgrade to BB10 in calendar 2013,” Jackson said today. “All those pending upgrades are currently not factored into the stock.”
Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins, speaking last week at Bloomberg’s Washington bureau, said he expected a wave of upgrades from RIM’s government clients.
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