Where is Research in Motion Headed?

In the past week, analysts have been particularly vocal regarding Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) future, with opinions, ratings, and price targets spanning a wide range. However, the varied analyses have one thing in common: the BlackBerry 10 is the struggling smartphone manufacturer’s make-or-break product.

Is Research in Motion a Buy…?

After having tumbled more than 20 percent this year, shares of Research in Motion have risen more than 50 percent in the last 30 days. The stock price’s most recent boost came last Friday; when National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson raised his price target on the stock from $12 to $15, shares jumped 15 percent. According to the research note seen by AllThingsD, his bullish stance was based on the “positive sentiment” surrounding the company ahead of its BlackBerry 10 launch.

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Jefferies analyst Peter Misek made a similar assessment earlier in the week when he upgraded RIM to a Hold rating from an Underperform. “We have been surprised by the strongly positive initial feedback on BB10 from carriers,” he wrote in a research note to clients. “We are a bit puzzled as we expected a more muted response given BB10 is two years late and RIM’s market share has plunged from 20 percent to 5 percent.” In his estimation, BlackBerry 10 is the company’s last chance to overturn Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) smartphone operating system duopoly.

Or is RIM a Sell?

But Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum believes that the company’s second quarter earnings, which were far better than analysts expected, were an aberration rather than the beginning of a turnaround.

“We continue to believe BlackBerry 10 has a low chance of success,” Gelblum said in a research note seen by AllThingsD. “While some of the new features on BB10 seem innovative, we had a similar reaction to Palm’s webOS when we saw it at CES in ’09. Ultimately we believe BB10 is too late, and subs continue to shift to competitive devices.”

The statistics support his point. According the most recent iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report, only five percent of the survey’s respondents said they were planning to upgrade to the BlackBerry 10.

CHEAT SHEET Analysis: Analysts Have Been a Key Catalyst for RIM’s Stock?

One of the core components of our CHEAT SHEET Investing Framework focuses on catalysts that will move a company’ stock. Analyst commentary over the past week has caused distinct swings in Research in Motion’s stock price; after trading just above its 100-day, 50-day, and 20-day simple moving average for most of last week, the stock fell back below that range based on Morgan Stanley’s critical note.

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