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The Blackberry Torch 9800 smartphone is seen after being unveiled at a news conference August 3, 2010 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Blackberry Torch 9800 smartphone is seen after being unveiled at a news conference August 3, 2010 in New York City.

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Top Business Stories

RIM customer base hits new mark, results cheer investors Add to ...

These are stories Report on Business is following today. Get the top business stories through the day on BlackBerry or iPhone by bookmarking our mobile-friendly webpage.

RIM results cheer investors Research In Motion Ltd. shares jumped sharply in after-hours trading today after the BlackBerry maker posted second-quarter results that topped analysts' estimates. RIM, under pressure as it competes with Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Google's Android operating system, earned $796.7-million (U.S.) or $1.46 a share, up from $475.6-million or 83 cents and above the average forecast of $1.35 a share compiled by Reuters. Both profit and revenue, which climbed more than 30 per cent to $4.62-billion, were above what analysts were expecting. RIM added 4.5 million subscribers in the second quarter and shipped 12.1 million devices, above the 11.8 million units expected by analysts. RIM now has a subscriber base of more than 50 million. RIM has yet again proved the markets wrong, as many analysts have been down on its stock.

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"This is a nice surprise on the upside. Revenue was better, EPS was better, units were better both for the current quarter, as well as the November quarter guidance," said Matthew Thornton from Avian Securities in Boston, according to Reuters.

Added Michael Yoshikami, chief investment strategist with YCMNet Advisors, in an interview with Bloomberg: "Their subscriber growth and revenue growth is very impressive year over year. It suggests to me that RIM is not done by far and that they still have corporate America to use as a launching pad even if iPhone and Android are starting to attack their market share."

RIM's numbers came one day after market research firm comScore Inc. released a report showing RIM's share of the mobile market in the U.S. rose in the three months ended July to 9 per cent from 8.4 per cent in the period ending in April, though its share of the market for mobile operating systems fell to 39.3 per cent from 41.1 per cent as Apple also lost share, but Google made great strides.

RIM's co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie said the company expects "a continuation of this momentum in the third quarter."



U.S. poverty rate rises, as does number of millionaires There's something very telling in three separate U.S. reports that speak to the haves and the have-nots, disparity and the ravages of the recession:

The poverty rate rose for the third straight year, reading 14.3 per cent in 2009, up from 13.2 per cent a year earlier. More than 43 million people are living in poverty and almost 51 million have no health insurance coverage. The level of poverty is the highest since 1994 and "the number of people in poverty in 2009 is the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available."

According to RealtyTrac Inc., the number of home foreclosures in the United States in August hit the highest monthly level since the beginning of the crisis in the industry. Banks foreclosed on more than 95,000 homes, an increase of 3 per cent from July and 25 per cent from a year earlier.

While millions are unemployed and living in poverty, the number of millionaires is rising again. "After downsizing in number through the market turmoil of mid-year 2007 to mid-year 2009, Wealth Market households rebounded at mid-year 2010," Phonex Marketing said in a report. "Recording an 8-per-cent growth rate from 2009 from the strength of increases in the equity markets, Wealth households now number nearly 5.6 million in the U.S."

As for all affluent families - that covers those with at least $250,000 (U.S.) in investable or liquid assets or $150,000 in household income - Phoenix noted that "despite enormous volatility in the economy and stock markets, the broad affluent market in the U.S. has managed to register small gains in numbers over the past five years, and now number nearly 25 million households."



Where Canada stands on household debt Much has been said recently about how Canadian families are ringing up huge amounts of debt, and consumers have been warned repeatedly that they may be in over their heads as interest rates rise. A snapshot of the developed countries by Scotia Capital today shows just where Canada ranks in terms of leverage: As a share of total household assets, Canadian families are carrying more debt than those in five of the G7 countries. Only the United States ranks higher, and American consumers are beginning to get their act in gear after the recession.

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