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HTC Sinks to July 2010 Low as Brokerages Slash Ratings, Targets

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HTC CEO Forges Anti-Apple Strategy
A visitor tries the HTC Corp.'s new HTC Evo 3D mobile handset while on display at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin. Photographer: Tim Fadek/Bloomberg

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) -- HTC Corp. fell for a sixth day as brokerages from Citigroup Inc. to Barclays Capital reduced their ratings after the largest seller of smartphones in the U.S. cut its sales forecast.

Shares of the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company sank 6.9 percent to NT$489.5 as of 11:41 a.m. in Taipei, set for their lowest close since July 09, 2010, and extending a five-day, 24 percent plunge. The stock has dropped 61 percent from its record-high on April 28, erasing some $23 billion in value to leave the company with a market capitalization of about $14 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

HTC’s announcement cutting its fourth-quarter revenue forecast comes amid stiffer competition from Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. The news has prompted at least six brokers, including Citigroup and Credit Suisse Group AG, to downgrade the stock.

The company’s earnings forecast change is “driven more by inferior product than by macro reasons,” Kevin Chang and Jonathan Gu, Taipei-based analysts at Citigroup, wrote in a report dated yesterday. “We are most surprised by the lack of visibility and by how fast things deteriorate in the smartphone business.” The analysts reduced their recommendation on the stock to “sell” from “neutral” and cut their price estimate to NT$463.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net.

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