BlackBerry misses low expectations, slumps 17%

BlackBerry misses low expectations, slumps 17%
Friday, June 28, 2013 - 9:16am

Past the point of "transitional quarter" excuses, the new fiscal year isn't starting out well for BlackBerry.

BlackBerry shares slumped 17% in premarket trading Friday after the company's fiscal first-quarter results sorely missed Wall Street estimates.

It's been a lot of hurry-up-and-wait for BlackBerry watchers. The long-delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system finally launched in January, during the company's fiscal fourth quarter. But the first BlackBerry 10 device, the touchscreen Z10, went on sale in only a few locations just a few weeks before the quarter ended -- so that reporting period was essentially a wash.

The first quarter was BlackBerry's first chance to prove the company is turning around. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, the quarter was a painful disappointment.

BlackBerry lost 13 cents per share on sales of $3.1 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of 6 cents a share on revenue of $3.4 billion.

The company didn't give many details in its news release, but analysts will be looking for more information about Z10 sales during a conference call later Friday. The Z10 launched in more areas, including the United States, in late March. At the time, analysts called the U.S. Z10 launch "underwhelming" and "a big disappointment."

BlackBerry is staking its turnaround on the success of the BlackBerry 10 OS. Shares are up an incredible 78% since last November, when the company announced the platform was finally, truly coming in January.

But that runup is partly because many investors are still betting against BlackBerry. As of June 14, nearly 35% of shares were held by short-sellers who think that BlackBerry's stock will fall. That's an extremely large percentage, and it has contributed to BlackBerry's wild swings as "shorts" are sometimes forced to buy up shares in order to cover their positions.

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