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RIM shares dive on Morgan Stanley downgrade

updated 08:00 pm EDT, Mon June 25, 2012

Analyst thumbs down leads to lowest close since 2003

Embattled BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion took another hit today, as a negative report from Morgan Stanley sparked a 7.7 percent drop in the company's stock price. Morgan Stanley analysts have put forward bleak forecasts for the phone maker's future, even as the company tries to right itself in the months leading up to the release of its revamped mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10.

RIM's shares closed at $9.11 on the Nasdaq on Monday, down 75 cents from open, but up from the $9.01 mark shares hit earlier in the day. Since peaking in 2008, RIM's shares have shed 94 percent of their value, paralleling the company's precipitous drop in smartphone market share.

Morgan Stanley's Ehud Gelblum set a price target even lower than today's close, though, pegging RIM at $7 a share, well below other analysts' prediction. Gelblum pointed to RIM's aging hardware and the fact that BlackBerry 10 won't debut until the fall as the rationale behind his aggressive sell rating.

The poor opening comes at the end of a weekend full of guessing about the phone maker's future. On Saturday, outlets began quoting unnamed sources as saying that RIM was seriously considering spinning off aspects of its operations in an effort to slim down. RIM responded today, saying that the company is focused on ensuring that its new handsets see a successful launch later this year.

RIM's denial of any plans to sell, though, haven't quashed talk of spinoffs. Gelblum noted that the company may be worth more in parts than it is as a whole, as RIM's BlackBerry email system is still lucrative. The company also owns a sizable patent portfolio that could prove valuable as bigger players seek to protect themselves from lawsuits.

by MacNN Staff



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