Shares of Blackberry developer Research in Motion fell as much as six percent to $16.93 Monday following yet more downgrades, this time by JMP Securities and RBC Capital Markets. The decline created a 52-week low for the shares.
While overall, North American markets were off about 2.5 percent at midday, the RIM downgrade was unusual. The Waterloo, Ontario-based developer has seen its value erode about 70 percent this year. Activist investors Jaguar Financial and Omega Advisers have acquired stakes nearing 10 percent to agitate for a shake-up or sale.
Monday's activity followed a downgrade by RBC analyst Mike Abramsky, who lowered a price target on RIM shares to $23 from $29 on fears sales of the BlackBerry aren't holding up after a strong launch in August.
As well, JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna lowered his rating to market underperform after concluding the BlackBerry can't maintain market share against cheaper Android smartphones.
Meanwhile, RIM itself reported a product glitch. A limited number of BlackBerry 9900 and 9930 devices failed to turn on, the company said. It promised a software fix.
RIM is still reeling from a three-day e-mail failure in October that caused a global backup for 70 million users. Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and James Balsillie took several days to apologize, then announced a dozen free apps with a credit worth $100 through Dec. 31.
The latest swoon lowers RIM's market capitalization to $9.08 billion; its enterprise value is $8.32 billion.