Monday, November 05, 2007

Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM): Citigroup's Top Handset stock to own for 2008

- Citigroup is out positive on Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), calling it their top Handset
stock to own for 2008. Firm's recent meetings with top management re-emphasized RIM's high-quality team, long-term strategy, unique market position, and profitable growth. Continued carrier support into the enterprise, aggressive pro-sumer entry, and new consumer/SoHo offerings should help drive continued sales & EPS growth in 2008 and beyond. CY08 growth estimated +57% sales and +66% EPS.

While RIM stock is often viewed as a momentum play, they argue the real momentum is in RIM's fundamentals: increasing distribution through carrier partners, expanding geographic reach, and a swelling subscriber base that is just now hitting critical mass. Citi views RIM's strong stock price performance as reflective of the underlying fundamentals of the RIM business which are only starting to hit critical mass adoption growth.

Management repeatedly emphasizes its role as a trusted partner to carriers & benefits that accrue to RIM. While other handset vendors (NOK, MOT) attempt to disintermediate carriers into a dumb bitpipe, RIM reaps the rewards of carrier partnership & cooperation.

A key point in Viti's thesis on the handset space is that software and services will be critical this cycle. While investors focus on the ubiquitous Blackberry device with RIM, the they believe software is the real driver. Maintains Buy and $140 tgt.

Notablecalls: Will this call be enough to push RIMM stock to a new all time high? Sure, why not. RIMM's a momentum play, folks. The stock has $130+ written all over it. Grab it early and aggressively.

By the way, Oppenheimer is out with a new tgt on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Opco's $850 represents the new Street high. I suspect RIMM + GOOG will be enough to pull the market out of the early slump.

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