BlackBerry shares continue to fall amid analyst downgrades, operational woes

TORONTO – Shares of BlackBerry (TSX:BB) are down a further seven per cent in pre-market trading, following a flurry of analyst reports in the wake of last week’s massive layoff announcement and financial warning.

The shares were at US$8.12 about an hour before North American markets were to open, down 61 cents US from the Friday close on Nasdaq. In Toronto, they closed Friday at C$9.08, down $1.74.

BlackBerry’s shares have been pummelled since the Canadian smartphone maker’s announced that it’s cutting 4,500 employees, about 40 per cent of its global workforce.

The company also said its next quarterly report will include a massive loss and much lower revenue than analysts had been anticipating.

U.S. firm Jefferies was among the ones providing ratings downgrades, slashing its price target for BlackBerry shares to US$8 from $15 and lowering its rating to “hold” from “buy.”

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek downgraded the company’s stock, saying that potential buyers for the company will be price-sensitive due to the shrunken size of BlackBerry’s handset business.

He says there’s value in the BlackBerry operating system, BlackBerry Messenger services and patents but “the handset business is now an albatross.”

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