RIM shares surge almost 11 per cent, trade at levels unseen in a year

WATERLOO, Ont. – Research In Motion’s stock reached levels unseen since early last year in trading Monday before settling for a substantial gain of almost 11 per cent on the day.

Shares in the BlackBerry maker hit $18.49 at one point before closing up $1.70 at $17.41 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The last time RIM shares traded above $18 was in January 2012, before the stock began a long decline marked by product setbacks and disappointments that saw it hit a low of $6.10 in September.

The stock (TSX:RIM) has gained more than 18 per cent since the close last Monday and more than 185 per cent since last September.

The surge comes as RIM prepares to unveil its new BlackBerry 10 operating system and line of smartphones on Jan. 30.

On Monday, president and CEO Thorsten Heins was quoted in a German newspaper as saying the Waterloo, Ont.,-based company is still open to licensing its new OS, but not before the launch.

The paper also quotes Heins as saying the sale of RIM’s hardware production arm is also a possibility.

On Friday, Jeffries & Co. analyst Peter Misek raised his target estimate for RIM to US$19.50 per share, from $13.

In a note to investors, Misek said he expects RIM to open its corporate BlackBerry email services to iPhone and Android devices, which would be a new revenue stream for the company.

BlackBerry 10 is widely considered a make-or-break product for the once dominant smartphone maker, which has seen its market share eroded by Apple and Android devices.