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Research In Motion Ltd. shares surged again on Monday in the latest boost for the beleaguered smartphone maker’s stock amid broader optimism about the company’s crucial BlackBerry 10 launch in late January. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
Research In Motion Ltd. shares surged again on Monday in the latest boost for the beleaguered smartphone maker’s stock amid broader optimism about the company’s crucial BlackBerry 10 launch in late January. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

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'Small things' power big gains for RIM Add to ...

Research In Motion Ltd. shares surged again on Monday in the latest boost for the beleaguered smartphone maker’s stock amid broader optimism about the company’s crucial BlackBerry 10 launch in late January.

After jumping nearly 13 per cent in Friday trading, RIM shares continued to rise on Monday, briefly pushing above $15 (U.S.) on Nasdaq and ending the day up more than 10 per cent in Toronto.

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The moves come amid a broader RIM rally that started in late September, with shares more than doubling on the TSX from a low of around $6 to close at $14.70 on Monday.

In the months leading up to the anticipated Jan. 30 event – where RIM will unveil officially its BlackBerry 10 software platform and new devices – optimism has been building.

But the stock has still been incredibly volatile. With no change in fundamentals, which have deteriorated as RIM lost market share to fast-moving rivals, analyst upgrades and downgrades have sent the stock lurching.

The moves on Friday and Monday, though, come with no big impetus. Indeed, the stock moved up on Friday even as a Bank of Montreal analyst downgraded the stock.

Analysts instead said that RIM shares were moving on a variety of smaller positive developments, rather than any particular event that moved the market by itself.

“There’s nothing really big out there, but there’s a bunch of small things,” said Tom Astle of Byron Capital Markets Ltd.

The developments that contributed to the uptick, Mr. Astle said, are reports that the main U.S. carriers will support the new BlackBerrys and news from RIM’s application teams that software developers “ported” around 15,000 apps from other platforms to BlackBerry 10 over the weekend.

The latter development is an encouraging sign for RIM: Developers had previously complained about making BlackBerry apps, but better development tools and a renewed push from RIM mean BlackBerry 10 phones may debut with more apps than RIM’s PlayBook tablet, which was criticized for lacking apps.

Mr. Astle also cited positive sales numbers for Nokia Corp.’s Windows Phone-powered Lumia models last week as evidence that there is still room in the market for rivals to Google Inc.’s Android and Apple Inc.’s iOS platforms, which dominate the market.

Nokia’s prerelease of positive fourth-quarter sales and profit numbers came out Thursday, sending the Finnish company’s shares up more than 10 per cent that day.

Richard Tse, an analyst with Cormark Securities Inc., added that RIM’s new operating system seems differentiated enough from Apple’s and Google’s software to stand a chance, and get support from wireless operators around the world.

He also said the negative news about dwindling revenues from RIM’s carrier service fee, at least in the short term, appear to be less severe than many first thought.

At the same time, Mr. Tse added, investors should watch big developments over the next few months closely.

“My read of it is that there is building momentum going into the Jan. 30 launch,” Mr. Tse said. “The way we’ve been calling it is sort of on a milestone basis. It’s definitely too early to say that, longer term, the thing has turned. … You’ve got to watch those milestones very carefully. Once they launch this thing – can they fill the channel? Will there be any bugs? What does the marketing look like?”

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