Ahead of the Bell: Research In Motion

Analyst cuts Research In Motion rating, says expectations for company may be too high

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Research In Motion declined 2 percent before the market opened Wednesday with Bernstein Research predicting that the BlackBerry maker won't measure up to Wall Street expectations in the second half of the year.

RIM's stock has climbed 25 percent since the start of the year, as buzz for the new BlackBerry 10 device ramped up.

Analyst Pierre Ferragu said that his research suggests that consumers have been slow to move to the BlackBerry 10.

"The initial enthusiasm that we observed for BlackBerry 10 devices now appears to be waning," he said.

The analyst also believes that there is an increased risk that only some corporate customers will latch on to the new technology.

"BlackBerry 10 is being tested at only 60 percent of Fortune 500, which implies the share of defectors could be very large," Ferragu wrote.

Based on that prediction, Bernstein lowered expectations for shipments, gross margin and service revenue "for the second half and beyond."

Ferragu cut RIM's rating to "Underperform" from "Market Perform."

A representative for Research In Motion Ltd. did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The company's stock fell 36 cents to $14.48 in premarket trading.

The BlackBerry arrived in 1999 and had been the dominant choice for corporations and high-end phone purchases by individuals before Apple Inc.'s iPhone debuted in 2007, and showed that phones can be used for much more than email and phone calls. RIM faced numerous delays modernizing its operating system with the BlackBerry 10. During that time, it had to cut more than 5,000 jobs and saw shareholder wealth decline by more than $70 billion.

But RIM surprised Wall Street in March by returning to profitability and shipping about 1 million touch-screen BlackBerry Z10 phones in the quarter that ended March 2. It will take several quarters, though, to know whether the Canadian company is on a path toward a successful turnaround.

The BlackBerry Q10, which has a physical keyboard, went on sale in the U.S. in early June, months after the touch-screen versions went on sale.

View Comments