UPDATE 1-RIM shares rally as optimism around new devices grows

Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:38am EST

* National Bank analyst raises price target on stock

* Brokerage firm also boost FY2014 shipment numbers

* RIM's Toronto-listed shares jump more than 11 pct (Adds details, background, updates share price move)

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Shares of Research In Motion Ltd surged more than 11 percent in Toronto on Thursday, after an analyst raised his price target on the stock, citing "positive sentiment building in the industry" ahead of the launch of BlackBerry 10.

National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson boosted his price target on shares of the embattled BlackBerry maker to $15 from $12. Thompson argues there is more money to be made in the stock, ahead of the early 2013 launch of RIM's make-or-break new line of devices powered by its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Shares in RIM, by far the most actively traded stock on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, jumped C$1.19 to C$11.42 in early trading.

"The new management team is executing by maintaining the BlackBerry subscriber base, managing costs and cash, and seemingly readying a February 2013 BB10 global platform launch," said Thompson in a note to clients.

The latest vote of confidence comes just days after one of RIM's most influential critics raised his rating on the stock.

RIM hopes BB10 smartphones will help claw back market share it has lost in recent years to Apple Inc's iPhone and devices that run on Google Inc's Android operating system.

The BlackBerry maker - a one-time pioneer in the smartphone industry - has been for months enveloped in a wave of negative sentiment, as its aging line-up of devices has lost ground to faster and sleeker devices.

In recent weeks however, positive feedback around RIM's new line of devices, has begun to lift some of the deep pessimism surrounding the stock.

RIM promises its new devices will be faster and smoother and have a large catalog of applications, which are now crucial to the success of any new line of smartphones.

Thompson said he now expects RIM to ship about 35.5 million devices in fiscal 2014, up from an earlier estimate of 31.6 million.

"The shipments boost reflects about one more month of BB10 product availability plus a little extra for the positive sentiment building in the industry from our discussions," he said.

Analysts were widely expecting the new devices to only go on sale in March, however RIM recently said it plans to launch the smartphones on Jan 30, leading many to speculate that the new devices will hit store shelves around mid-February.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)

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