BlackBerry shares rise after Societe Generale upgrades company to Buy

TORONTO – Shares of BlackBerry (TSX:BB) are up more than five per cent following an upgrade to the company’s stock rating from Societe Generale on better-than-expected sales of the company’s new smartphones.

Analyst Andy Perkins boosted the smartphone maker to a “buy” from a “sell,” saying that pace of sales has been “faster than we previously assumed.”

BlackBerry shares rose 76 cents to $14.63 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, near the highs of the day but still below their 52-week high of $18.49.

Perkins expects the company to sell more than four million of its BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen devices in the first quarter, based on checks within phone sellers. That number would be on top of the one million sold in the fourth-quarter when the touchscreen phones hadn’t debuted in many countries, including the crucial U.S. market.

Meanwhile, Perkins predicts BlackBerry will sell one million of its Q10 keyboard devices in the period.

BlackBerry will include official sales figures when its reports first-quarter earnings June 28.