Skeptical Analysts Start to Come Around on BlackBerry

The majority of analysts following the telecom stock carry "hold" or "sell" ratings

Managing Editor
Dec 21, 2017 at 10:17 AM
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Tech stock BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB) is in focus this morning, as analysts respond bullishly to Wednesday morning's third-quarter earnings beat. Since last night's close, BB has racked up five price-target hikes from brokerage firms. The most notable price-target raise came from TD Securities, which gave the onetime handheld-device giant a lift to $14 from $12.

However, after yesterday's rally up to a near three-year high of $12.36, BB is retracing some of its steps this morning. The shares are down 2.1% at $11.91 in early trading.

Currently, BlackBerry stock carries 9 "hold" or "strong sell" ratings from analysts, compared to just one "strong buy." Meanwhile, BB's average 12-month price target checks in at $10.94 -- about 8% lower than the stock's current level.This skeptical configuration leaves plenty of room for more price-target hikes or upgrades in the future.

By yesterday's close, approximately 76,000 calls and 12,000 puts had traded on BB -- five times the stock's average daily options volume. The January 2018 12-strike call was most active, with International Securities Exchange (ISE) data indicating that some call sellers closed out their bets in response to the stock's intraday surge above the strike price.

Looking at the long term, BlackBerry has had a stellar 2017, gaining about 73% year-to-date. The mobile communications stock has established key support at its 80-day and 160-day moving averages, and Wednesday's bull gap has placed former congestion around $11.50 in the rearview.

However, short sellers have targeted BB heavily. There are currently 46.75 million BB shares sold short, representing 18.4 times the stock's average daily volume. While yesterday's positive earnings likely shook loose some of the weaker bearish hands, there's still plenty of room for more of these pessimistic positions to be unwound.


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