Can Research in Motion Earnings Match Stock Gains? (RIMM)

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Research-in-Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is set to report earnings today after the stock market closes, and First Call estimates are $0.50 EPS and $1.36 Billion in revenues.  Keep in mind that the consensus estimate moved up from $0.49 over the last week and from $0.48 over the last month or two.  Estimates of new subscribers are somewhere in the 1.35 to 1.45 million range (forecast was 1.32-1.37M) and shipments of more than 3 million units.

We just noted this one as one of the huge Window Dressing Stocks that was a large beneficiary of fund buying.  Based upon a $98.00 mid-morning price, since the June 29 date shares are up 47%; but if you go merely one day before the end of the last calendar quarter shares are up a monster 77%.

It is never easy standing against the crowd and it is never easy saying hi-flyers have run too much.  It is possible to stand against the crowd, but stocks have shown time after time how sometimes they will keep rising despite performance and despite valuations.  But it is hard to imagine that there isn’t going to be some profit taking.  RBC Capital Markets just downgraded this Monday saying R-I-M was hard to see higher prices for the time being.  The average target is roughly $100 now, although there are higher targets.   Jim Cramer said recently that he expects some profit taking in these names that are up big, mostly from his "New Four Horsemen of Tech" stocks.

The BlackBerry is still more business-focused, but what we are rally trying to look at is how large the global total is that the company can take.  It has leaped over the Palm Treo from Palm Inc. (NASDAQ:PALM) and the iPhone, for now at least, has been less of a business focus and is still in the the very early stages of its 20 million unit target where R-I-M is trying to counter the advance.

We would expect some profit taking as the obvious move, but we aren’t going to try stand in front of a freight train.  This one has just had way too many gap-ups on earnings before.   With new versions of its PDA smartphones having hit the market, we aren’t going to try to outguess the guestimates for shipments and subscribers.  We are still trying to factor in a longer-term estimate of the total global market opportunity for R-I-M and we aren’t alone. 

The $55 Billion market cap sounds giant, but it depends upon how you view its global opportunity in the years ahead.  Another wild card today will be the impact that the weak US Dollar had.  Research in Motion is based in Canada, derives much of its sales in the U.S., and now has global sales with most major global wireless carriers.

Jon C. Ogg
October 4, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at; he produces the Special Situation Investing Newsletter and does not own securities in the companies he covers.