CHICAGO (Reuters) - Even investors who see value in beaten down stocks perceive little opportunity in the sinking shares of phone maker Nokia <NOK1V.HE>.
"This is an example of where a low price doesn't mean value," said David Herro, manager of the Oakmark International Fund <OAKIX.O>, speaking on a panel at the Morningstar investor conference on Thursday.
Nokia's value has plunged by more than half since February, after the leak of a memo from new Chief Executive Stephen Elop's that compared the company's market position to a man standing on a burning oil platform.
George Evans, director of international equities at Oppenheimer Funds, made reference to Elop's memo in dismissing the company's prospects.
"They are getting absolutely clobbered at the top and at the bottom," Evans said at the Morningstar conference.
Smart phones running Apple <AAPL.O> and Google <GOOG.O> software are capturing the high end while low-cost Asian companies are beating Nokia in the market for cheap handsets, he said.
"Nokia has lost its design mojo," Evans added. "I don't see how they get out of the hole they're in. It's a big mess."
Earlier on Thursday, Nokia confirmed that its technology chief was on indefinite leave after a media report on strategy disagreements, and a second credit agency cut its rating in another blow for the stricken phone maker.
Shares of Nokia hovered near 13-year lows after Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat said CTO Richard Green had disagreed with CEO Elop over Nokia's Microsoft-focused smartphone strategy and might not return.
Nokia confirmed that Green was on leave and said it was for personal reasons but declined to comment further on Thursday. Henry Tirri, head of Nokia Research Center, will be acting CTO.
"They appear to be a pretty big share loser and I don't see where it turns," said Bob Smith, manager of the T. Rowe Price International Stock Fund <PRITX.O>.
Oakmark's Herro, whose fund has outperformed 99 percent of similar funds over the past three years, said he prefers Samsung <005930.KS>, the Korean electronics maker, which is gaining market share in phones.
"They are one of those companies that beat up on Nokia," Herro said.
(Reporting by Aaron Pressman; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)