(Reuters) - Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is set to post stronger-than-expected third-quarter results and provide a more positive outlook for the fourth quarter, helped by the growing penetration of its dual-SIM and low-end refresh, Nomura said.
Solid results at the once mighty Nokia and the launch of its new Windows-based smartphones later this month could boost the stock in the near term, Nomura analysts said and upgraded Nokia shares to “neutral” from “reduce.”
“It increasingly seems that the depth of the Q2/Q3 margin squeeze was exaggerated by a greater-than-expected inventory correction,” the analysts wrote in a note to clients.
“Our checks suggest that this adjustment process is now complete and thus may allow management to guide more positively for Q4,” said Nomura analysts, including Stuart Jeffrey — who is a five-star rated analyst, according to StarMine data, for the accuracy of earnings estimates on firms under his coverage.
Nomura analysts now expect the company to break even in the third quarter, compared with their previous view of a loss of 2 cents per share.
According to StarMine’s SmartEstimate, which places more weight on recent forecasts by top-rated analysts, Nokia is expected to post a loss of 2 cents a share.
The world’s largest phone maker by volume, left in the dust by Apple Inc and Google Inc, announced a new strategy at the start of the year to ditch its home-grown Symbian software for a deal with Microsoft Corp.
Nomura analysts, however, believe there is a high risk that declines in Symbian will not be offset by growth in Windows-based smartphone, which they expect could struggle to establish itself in the high-end segment due to a weak brand and the “entrenched” position of Apple and Google’s Android.
Nokia shares have slumped over 40 percent since the start of the year on worries that it would lose so much market share before the new phones come out that Nokia might never make up lost ground.
The launch of Nokia’s first Windows-based smartphone is expected to coincide with the annual Nokia World trade show in London in October-end and deliveries would need to start in early November to get the phones to consumers during the peak holiday-sales season.
Nomura analysts raised their price target on the stock to 4 euros from 3.60 euros. Nokia shares were trading at 4.50 euros by 0718 GMT on Wednesday.
Reporting by Tenzin Pema in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon