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At the open: RIM shares suddenly dive amid BlackBerry 10 unveiling

Research In Motion Ltd. shares have suddenly turned south, down nearly 6 per cent on the TSX, after initially trading in positive territory today.

The stock had been up more than 4 per cent earlier this morning as the company began unveiling its BlackBerry 10 devices, critical to its turnaround efforts. The stock had declined about 10 per cent over the last two trading days amid profit-taking and nervousness over how the new devices would be received by consumers.

In a surprise move, RIM announced it would change its corporate name to "BlackBerry" and would change both its U.S. and Canadian tickers.

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In the broader market, major North American indexes were lower, as the TSX erased some modest gains at the open. Just prior to 11 a.m. (ET), the S&P/TSX composite index was down 5 points at 12,825; the S&P 500 was down 3 points at 1,504; and the Dow Jones industrial average - which closed at five-year high on Tuesday - was down 17 points at 13,937.

Trading sentiment soured this morning after the U.S. reported its economy unexpectedly contracted 0.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, a significant slowdown from growth of 3.1 per cent in the third quarter. Virtually every economist had expected a modest expansion and it the first quarter since the 2007-09 recession that GDP fell.

Still, many market observers were downplaying the significance of the report, given that much of the decline was linked to a cut back in government spending. Meanwhile, Superstorm Sandy in late October curbed construction and other activity during the quarter and uncertainty over the so-called fiscal cliff may have also temporarily curtailed consumer demand for goods and services.

Markets also took heart in an upbeat reading of the U.S. employment picture this morning. Automatic Data Processing Inc. reported that the U.S. added 192,000 private-sector positions in January. Economists were expecting a number closer to 173,000. The report may provide a hint that Friday's important U.S. non-farm payrolls data for December may also show continued progress in getting people back to work.

Here's a look at some other stocks on the move this morning:

The Boeing Co. is trading up about 1 per cent after the airplane manufacturer reported a strong fourth-quarter and pledged that the recent problems with the Dreamliner won't hurt its bottom line. Inc. shares are up nearly 5 per cent after profit margins at the Internet retailer surprised Wall Street late Tuesday. At least 13 brokerages raised their price targets on Amazon in response to the quarterly report.

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Facebook Inc. will be releasing its latest quarter after today's close.

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About the Author
Investment Editor

Darcy Keith is The Globe and Mail's Investment Editor. He has been a business journalist since 1992 and joined the Report on Business in 2010 from Yahoo! Canada, where he was the senior editor of finance. More


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