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Goldman Cuts RIM Rating as UBS Raises Price Estimate

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised investors to sell BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd., citing escalating competition, as at least five other firms raised price estimates for the stock.

Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski cut her rating from “neutral” in a report today. The San Francisco-based analyst lowered the 12-month share-price estimate to $65 from $73, saying RIM likely lost customers to models that use Google Inc.’s Android software, such as Motorola Inc.’s Droid.

“RIM’s products will increasingly lose differentiation as the focus shifts from e-mail, where RIM leads all competitors, to applications, where RIM lags both the iPhone and Android,” Jankowski said. “Our caution is driven by slowing enterprise demand, lower-end international sales and increased competitive pressures in the U.S.”

RIM reported fourth-quarter results yesterday and forecast first-quarter profit of at least $1.31 a share, exceeding the average Bloomberg estimate. Citigroup Inc., BMO Capital, UBS AG, Credit Suisse and Thomas Weisel Partners LLC boosted share-price projections after the report.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, fell $5.49, or 7.4 percent, to $68.48 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have gained 1.4 percent this year.

Jankowski joins four other analysts with “sell” ratings on the stock, compared with 36 who rate RIM “buy” and 14 who say hold.

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