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RIM 3-month TSX chart

Shares of Research in Motion surged Thursday after several investment banks raised their targets following the release of better-than-expected earnings.

RIM stock rose $5.79 to close at $123.42 on the TSX. That takes the shares to within $3 of its all-time high of $126.34. In heavy U.S. trading on the Nasdaq, RIM shares rose $6.79 to close at $122.58 US.

At least four brokerage firms raised their targets for RIM shares on Thursday.

  • TD Securities upped its estimate for RIM stock from $140 to $160 US.
  • Oppenheimer raised its target price from $115 to $150 US.
  • Lehman Bros. bumped its target from $135 to $145 US.
  • Caris and Co. raised its target by $15 to $135 US a share.

"Even in a tough economy with growing competition, RIM continues to gain momentum," said TD Securities analyst Chris Umiastowski in a note to investors. 

After markets closed on Wednesday, the Waterloo, Ont.-based maker of the popular BlackBerry smart phone reported its fiscal fourth-quarter profit and revenue more than doubled. Profit figures of 72 cents US a share beat analysts' forecasts by two cents a share. The company's bullish outlook for first-quarter profit also topped the market consensus. 

RIM said it added 2.18 million new subscribers in Q4, bringing its total subscriber base to more than 14 million.

There has been speculation that the recent weakness in the financial sector would hurt RIM, given that sector accounts for about 15 per cent of its market.

But in a conference call with analysts, co-CEO Jim Balsillie said the consumer market is growing in importance, through its new Pearl and Curve models that are aimed more at the non-business market.

"We continue to diversify our customer base and at the end of
the year approximately 38 per cent of the BlackBerry subscriber base were non-enterprise and well over half the net new subscriber account additions in the quarter came from non-enterprise customers," Balsillie said.