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RIM’s rise bolstered by CEO comments, analyst accolades

Research In Motion’s share price has surged in the days leading up to the launch of its BlackBerry 10 device, largely on bullish analyst comments.

MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS

The Research In Motion Ltd. rally continues.

As the Waterloo, Ont.-based technology company prepares to launch its new BlackBerry 10 phones on Jan. 30, a series of analyst upgrades and positive developments have bolstered the smartphone maker's volatile shares.

With U.S. markets closed, RIM shares jumped more than 10 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange, ending Monday at $17.41.

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Though Monday's trading played into the larger RIM rally since late September, when RIM shares were around $6.25, the latest upswing may have been influenced by two developments on Monday.

RIM's German-born chief executive officer Thorsten Heins told German newspaper Die Welt that he could still license BlackBerry software or sell the company's hardware division – comments largely reiterating previous comments he has made about all options being on the table as RIM undergoes a "comprehensive review."

Also on Monday, Byron Capital Markets Ltd. analyst Tom Astle put out a bullish research note that said BlackBerry 10 looks solid, looks to be getting support from both wireless operators and application developers and is likely to be launched with an all-out advertising blitz. He also noted that new management was executing "very strongly" and have the balance sheet in good shape.

"On January 30, RIM launches its first major product cycle in years into one of the fastest growing consumer markets," Mr. Astle said. "And with the stock still only trading slightly above tangible book and patent value – do you really want to have no exposure at all?"

Monday's development follows a Friday upgrade by Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek that sent RIM shares up 7 per cent. Mr. Misek raised his price target from $13 to $19.50 and suggested investors might be underestimating RIM's software prowess.

In November, when U.S. markets were closed for Thanksgiving, a single piece of research by National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson sent RIM shares up 17 per cent – with shares jumping 12 per cent on the Nasdaq the following day.

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