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Updated: Fri, 28 Jun 2013 09:37:56 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

BlackBerry shares open 25% lower on TSX



BlackBerry shares open 25% lower on TSX

Shares in BlackBerry were down by as much as 25 per cent when stock markets opened Friday, after the company posted a disappointing $84 million net loss in the first quarter.

BlackBerry shares, which closed at $14.48 US on the Nasdaq stock market in New York Thursday, were trading at below $11 in what's known as premarket trading on the Nasdaq this morning.

Those losses held when the broader markets opened at 9:30 a.m. ET.

- Read Adrienne Arsenault's report on BlackBerry's strategy

More than 40 per cent of BlackBerry shares are held by so-called short sellers, who bet against the company. That's a heavy weight on the stock, and heavily shorted stocks tend to move up and down in much more extreme ways.

Short interest in BlackBerry has almost doubled over the past 12 months.

The quarterly loss came in at 16 cents per share. While the $84 million figure is narrower than the $518 million the company lost in the same period a year ago, it wasn't what analysts had forecast.

The results were the first since BlackBerry unveiled its newest phones, the Z10 and the Q10, which BlackBerry is banking on turning the company around.

Cost-saving plans will continue

The company said it shipped 6.8 million smartphones in the first quarter, an increase of 13 per cent from the previous quarter when sales of the new phones were just getting started.

Chief executive Thorsten Heins said about 40 per cent of those phone shipments were of new models, well short of the ratio that analysts were expecting.

- Follow the interactive on the rise and fall of BlackBerry stock

Sales rose to $3.07 billion from $2.81 billion a year ago.

"During the first quarter, we continued to focus our efforts on the global rollout of the BlackBerry 10 platform," chief executive Thorsten Heins said in a release.

Heins hinted that the company's numbers aren't showing signs of improving in the near term. He said he expects BlackBerry will book an operating loss in its second-quarter earnings results, due to heightened competition in the smartphone industry.

"The company will also continue to implement the cost savings and process-improving initiatives it started last year," he added.

With files from The Canadian Press

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