Research in Motion Up Again Ahead of BB10 on Jefferies Upgrade


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Shares of Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM ) rallied another 7 percent in the pre-market on Friday. Analysts at Jefferies upgraded the stock to a Buy from a Hold and raised their price target from $13 to $19.50.

How much of RIM's rally is real? And how much is the rally a product of short covering?

About one-third of RIM's float has been sold short. Those who bet on RIM's bankruptcy in 2012 have been increasingly burned as shares have rallied higher ahead of the release of BlackBerry 10.

No, doubt, 2012 was a brutal year for the company. Shares tumbled after the company reported poor earnings; questions started to surface about the company's long-term viability in the face of declining interest in the company's handsets.

Co-founders Jim Bassille and Mike Lazaridis stepped down in the first half of the year, turning control over to Thorsten Heins, who shifted the company's focus to developing a completely new mobile operating system: BlackBerry 10.

RIM's impressive rally over the last few months seems to be pinned on traders' hopes for the viability of BB10 (or perhaps, shorts' fears). Devices running the new mobile OS are set to debut January 30.

Meanwhile, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) traded back below $500 during Friday's pre-market. Are the two related? Some businesses, long loyal to BlackBerry for their corporate phones, shifted over to Apple's iPhone. Now, with a revitalized BlackBerry, corporations might be willing to switch back.

One factor that seems to have been lost in the shuffle is the possibility of RIM being bought.

Last May, RIM hired JP Morgan to explore the company's strategic possibilities, including a sale of the business. It is interesting to note that the first BlackBerry 10 phones will not feature RIM's trademark keyboard.

Perhaps RIM is still hoping to present BB10 as a powerful asset in the mobile world. The type of asset Samsung might want for its phones, given its reliance on Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG ) mobile operating system Android. Or, perhaps Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) would want BB10 for its strongly rumored upcoming smart phone.

Either way, it's hard to fight with RIM's tape. Over the last three months, shares are up well over 85 percent.

(c) 2013 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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