BlackBerry Shares Advance After Paradigm Lifts Rating to Buy

BlackBerry shares gained 4.6 percent after Paradigm Capital Inc. raised its rating on the stock to “speculative buy,” saying rumors of the smartphone maker’s demise have been “greatly exaggerated.”

Gabriel Leung, an analyst at Paradigm in Toronto, upgraded the shares from a hold rating and now expects the stock to reach $19 over the next 12 months, compared with a previous estimate of $16.

The company posted better-than-expected earnings last quarter, even as sales missed projections, a sign that profit margins are improving, Leung said in a report. Adding to the optimism: The BlackBerry Q10, a model with a physical keyboard that’s expected to be popular with corporate customers, is due soon, he said. Leung also cited the imminent departure of BlackBerry inventor Mike Lazaridis from the board, a move that could make the company more likely to be sold.

“While the company is certainly not out of the woods, we believe the stock is worth a second look given the stabilized operational results, pending launch of the highly anticipated Q10 keyboard device (which should be supported by a strong corporate refresh), and a possible rejuvenation of takeover speculation,” he said in the report.

The stock climbed to $15.11 at the close in New York. The rise pushed the shares gains this year to 27 percent.

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