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Nokia Rises as Danske Says Microsoft May Buy Smartphone Unit

Nokia Oyj rose in Helsinki trading after Danske Bank said the mobile-phone maker may sell its smartphone business to Microsoft Corp.

Nokia rose as much as 3.2 percent to 3.97 euros and was up 1.6 percent at 11:45 a.m. That pared the stock’s decline this year to 50 percent, valuing the Espoo, Finland-based manufacturer at 14.6 billion euros ($19.1 billion).

The company shipped its first devices using Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system this quarter. A merger with Microsoft, which is competing with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to install its software in mobile devices, has been the subject of investor speculation since Nokia named Microsoft executive Stephen Elop as chief executive officer in September 2010.

A smartphone deal “makes sense,” analysts at Danske Bank said in a report in which they raised their recommendation on Nokia to “buy” from “hold” and their 12-month stock-price estimate to 5 euros from 4.70 euros.

Doug Dawson, a spokesman at Nokia, denied the report. “We put these rumors to rest a long time ago,” Dawson said by e-mail.

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