TORONTO – Shares of Research In Motion Ltd. were under pressure again Tuesday, giving up two per cent of their value just days before the troubled BlackBerry maker provides a business update to investors.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, RIM (TSX:RIM) closed down 19 cents at $9.17 after having gone as low $9.09 after the open — levels not seen since 2003 after adjusting for stock splits.
The losses, however, were not as dramatic as Monday when shares plunged 76 cents, or 7.5 per cent, to close at $9.36 following a downgrade by investment firm Morgan Stanley, which called the company “essentially broken.”
The Waterloo, Ont., smartphone pioneer was briefly the most valuable company on the Toronto exchange in 2008 when its stock was trading at more than $148.
The drop in share value this week also comes after RIM dismissed a Sunday Times newspaper report that suggested the company was considering selling its handset manufacturing unit or a stake in the whole company.
Speculation that RIM may be sold or broken up increased earlier this year after the company hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and RBC Capital Markets to help evaluate its strategic options.
RIM is scheduled to report its latest quarterly earnings results after markets close on Thursday and provide a business update to investors.
The average analyst estimate is for a profit of a penny per share and $3.13 billion in revenue, according to those surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
On Monday, Morgan Stanley said that while the troubles at RIM are well known, the investment firm believes estimates for the company need to come down even further over the next six months.
RIM began cutting jobs last week as part of a plan to find $1 billion in savings by the end of its 2013 financial year.
The company has been working to turn around operations after watching its market share eroded by Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android operating system.
It hopes the debut of its BlackBerry 10 operating system and a new line of BlackBerry smartphones later this year will help keep its subscribers from defecting to other devices, particularly in the United States.
RIM also launched its BlackBerry Jam tour earlier this year in an attempt to woo software developers into making applications for the company’s devices.
However, speculation has been growing that RIM’s efforts are too little too late, and that the BlackBerry maker could ultimately be sold off.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story: an earlier version said the TSX stock price was below $9