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BlackBerry analyst reduces his sales estimates for new smartphones

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

TORONTO - Another BlackBerry (TSX:BB) analyst added his voice to caution about sales numbers for the new smartphone devices, and pulled back his sales expectations.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley said Monday that sales of the phones on the BlackBerry 10 operating system are "mixed."

The Z10 touchscreen device sales trends are weakening, he said citing the research firm's global survey, while the Q10 keyboard has seen "strong initial demand" since its release less than a week ago in Canada and a few days earlier in the U.K.

"Given the weaker Z10 sales levels combined with more limited initial supply of the Q10 than our expectations, we are lowering our BB10 sell-in estimates for the May quarter from 3.3 million to 2.8 million units," Walkley wrote.

He expects sales of the new BlackBerrys will be stronger in the short term, but the smartphone maker will be unable to regain enough of the market to keep sustainable profit levels, considering the heightened competition from the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.

Walkley reiterated a sell rating with a $9 target price.

Analysts have been trying to determine how well the new BlackBerrys are selling before the company releases official numbers on June 28 for a period that will include both U.S. sales of the Z10 and the Q10 in the U.K. and Canada.

Last week, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek, who has a buy rating on the stock, said that the keyboard phone is selling out in many stores but mostly due to a limited stock of the devices.

"Based on our store checks, the BlackBerry Q10 has been selling extremely well and has been sold out or seeing limited availability in Toronto and across the UK," Misek wrote in a note.

Analysts have long struggled to pinpoint the popularity of BlackBerry smartphones on the market and during the peak of the company's popularity it would regularly beat Wall Street expectations.

In March, BlackBerry reported a fourth-quarter profit of US$98-million which surprised analysts because they had been widely expecting a loss.

Shares of BlackBerry, the company which formerly called itself Research In Motion, fell three cents to close at $15.74 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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