Business

RIM stock soars on profit outlook

Shares of Research in Motion shot up 22 per cent Friday following a blowout earnings report that beat analysts' expectations.

Shares of Research in Motion shot up by more than $39 Friday following a blowout earnings report that beat analysts' expectations.

RIM stock opened at $207 on the TSX and closedat $214.40, up $39.18 from Thursday's close, or 22 per cent. That's an all-time high for RIM.

The trigger was the company's release of a sparkling first-quarter financial reportlate Thursday.

The maker of the popular BlackBerry wireless device said its quarterly revenues topped $1 billion US for the first time ever, and profits soared 73 per cent to $223.2 million US ($1.17 US a share).

Excluding stock option expenses, the earnings per share figure rose to $1.20 US — handily beating analysts' expectations of $1.06 US a share.

The company also announced a 3-for-1 stock split, effective Aug. 20.

RIM said it added 1.2 million BlackBerry subscribers in the quarter, bringing its total subscriber base to more than nine million. It also shipped 2.4 million devices in Q1 and said it expects to ship its 20-millionth BlackBerry this summer.

At least three brokerage firms upgraded their ratings on RIM and many analysts raised their price targets for the stock. TD Securities, for instance, boosted its 12-month target on the stock from $215 US to $235 US. "The company's performance has been nothing short of amazing and it looks like similar strength will continue through the entire fiscal year," TD analyst Steven Green said.

RBC Capital Markets raised RIM to a "top pick" rating and boosted their target from $180 US to $250 US a share.

RIM's co-CEOs — Jim Balsillie and Mike Laziridis — have each made more than $400 million from the share price surge in the last 24 hours. Laziridis owns 12.4 million RIM shares, while Balsillie owns 11.8 million.

Balsillie's one-day paper profit far exceeds the $238 million US that heoffered to pay this month for the Nashville Predators hockey club.