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Wednesday, 03/27/2013 2:29:54 PM

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 2:29:54 PM

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Earnings Preview: BlackBerry shares up more than 30% ahead of Q4 report

BlackBerry (BBRY) is scheduled to report Q4 earnings before the market open on Thursday, March 28, with a conference call scheduled for 8:00 am ET. BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, is a wireless solutions provider and manufactures the BlackBerry smartphone and operating system. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of (30c) on revenue of $2.83B, according to Bloomberg. The consensus range for EPS is (8c)-(78c) on revenue of $2.41B-$3.28B. Total smartphone shipments are expected to be around 6.95M, with BlackBerry 10 shipments expected to be around 1.1M. A Wall Street Journal report, citing data from Markit, earlier today said between the Canadian and New York exchange listings of Blackberry shares, current short interest in BlackBerry stands at about 30%, a near record high for the stock.

LAST QUARTER: BlackBerry's Q3 results saw EPS of (22c) against estimates for (35c) on revenue of $2.7B against estimates for $2.66B. In its Q3 earnings report, BlackBerry reported it had 79M users and said it expected continued pressure on operating results in Q4 as it prepared for the launch of BlackBerry 10, which was announced on January 30. At its January 30 event, BlackBerry announced it would launch two BB10 devices, the touchscreen Z10, and the Q10 with a physical keyboard. The Z10 was made available in Canada beginning February 5, and AT&T (T) began selling the device in the U.S. on March 22. On March 13, BlackBerry announced that a partner purchased 1M BB10 smartphones, and an AllThingsD report later said the order was placed by Brightstar. At its January 30 announcement for BlackBerry 10, the company, which had been known as Research in Motion, announced it was changing its name to BlackBerry and would trade under the ticker "BBRY" effective February 4. STREET RESEARCH: Street research has been mixed on BlackBerry since its Q3 report, with shares receiving a downgrade to Sell from Underperform at CLSA the day after its Q3 report. BlackBerry shares ran higher in January, ahead of the company's BlackBerry 10 announcement, and a number of firms upgraded the stock and increased their price target on the stock. Following the announcement of BlackBerry 10, the stock was downgraded to Underweight from Equal Weight at Evercore, and to Underperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse. Ahead of BB10's launch in Canada, Bernstein upgraded shares to Outperform from Market Perform with a $22 price target, and after the launch, Wells Fargo upgraded shares to Outperform from Market Perform with a price target range of $19-$20 per share. Last week, shares were upgraded two notches, to Overweight from Underweight, at Morgan Stanley with a $22 price target.

PRICE ACTION: BlackBerry shares have gained over $3.40, or more than 31% since the first day of trading following its Q3 report, with shares closing as high as $17.90 on January 22, and as low as $10.61 on December 24. BlackBerry shares have lost about $1.65, or a little more than 10% since Friday's U.S. launch of the Z10, as analysts have been split on whether the launch was a success. Shares of BlackBerry are up about 1% in afternoon trading ahead of tomorrows Q4 report.