TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion received a big boost on Thursday after Goldman Sachs raised its rating on the company, sending shares of the BlackBerry maker soaring more than 12 percent in trading before the morning bell.
The brokerage firm is the latest to join a growing chorus of analysts to turn more positive on RIM's prospects ahead of the launch of its make-or-break new line of devices that will vie against Apple's iPhone and Android-based smartphones.
Goldman raised its rating on RIM to "buy" from "neutral," while also lifting its price target on RIM's shares to $16 from $9. The announcement sent RIM's shares up 12.2 percent to $12.45 in premarket trading in the United States.
RIM, a one-time smartphone pioneer, hopes its new BlackBerry 10 devices will rescue it from a prolonged slump and help win back market share it had ceded to rivals such as Apple and Samsung Electronics.
"We are upgrading Research in Motion to Buy from Neutral, as we see a positive risk/reward heading into its BlackBerry 10 launch on January 30," Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski said in a note to clients.
RIM shares, which have plunged about 90 percent from a 2008 high of more than $148, have risen some 75 percent in the last two months, as analysts have begun to turn more optimistic ahead of the launch of the BB10 devices.
Earlier this month, Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek, who has been one of RIM's biggest critics, raised his rating and price target on the stock. And last week, National Bank analyst Kris Thompson raised his price target on the shares, stating that there is more money to be made in the stock ahead of the launch of the BB10 devices.
(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)