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BLOG: Keep an eye on shares of Research in Motion (RIM-T) today after CIBC's Tony Coupland became the third analyst to upgrade the company in less than a week.
CIBC raised RIM to 'Sector Outperformer - Speculative' from 'Sector Underperform' and boosted its price target to $17 from $8, citing early positive reaction to the company's new BlackBerry 10 platform.
RIM's battered shares have been on a tear, jumping more than 50 percent in the past month as the company makes the rounds to showcase BlackBerry 10 to developers, carriers, analysts and the media.
Although it's too soon to say whether RIM's new platform can help it win back market share from Android and Apple, it will put the BlackBerry-maker in a good position to finally stabilize its existing subscriber base, Coupland wrote in the note released Sunday.
CIBC says RIM looks materially undervalued at its current price and the brokerage expects the company to report positive earnings per share in 2013. Coupland says there will be a decline in shipments from fiscal 2012 to 2013, but they will rebound in 2014.
One of the key factors that CIBC cites in RIM's expected rebound is competition - a surprising statement given how viciously competitive the smartphone market is right now.
But for the first time in years a new RIM device won't be competing with a new iPhone or Samsung at the time of its launch, meaning carriers will be more willing to promote the BlackBerry 10 phones, CIBC says.
And RIM will be able to offer over 100,000 apps by the time BlackBerry 10 launches - a key factor that has been sorely missing in earlier iterations of RIM's smartphones.
Still, this is at least one area where RIM continues to fall behind Apple and Android, which both offer more than 700,000 apps to their subscribers. CIBC points out that the iPhone successfully launched in 2007 with only 500 apps, but expectations of what a smartphone should offer have changed dramatically since then.
The key word in CIBC's new rating is "speculative." There's still a lot of risk associated with these shares.