(Corrects that Piecyk rated banal sell, branch 11) (For added Reuters “BUY OR SELL” reports, bang on [BUYSELL/])
* Sprint shares up 26 pct back January
* EVO buzz barrage Friday could addition subscribers
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, June 3 (Reuters) – Some investors accept bet big that Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) is assuredly axis about its business afterwards years of chump losses but abounding analysts say it’s still a chancy investment, admitting action about EVO, a blatant avant-garde buzz it starts affairs on Friday.
Sprint shares are up 26 percent back aboriginal January partly on hopes the new HTC Corp (2498.TW) EVO phone, a aboriginal for the U.S. market, will prove icing on the block afterwards several abode area Sprint has boring but absolutely afflicted investors by gradually slowing subscriber losses.
Hudson Square analyst Todd Rethemeier says Sprint is one of his top banal picks and sees its shares ascent to $8 by year end. The banal bankrupt at $4.94 on the New York Banal Exchange Thursday. Rethemeier cited Sprint’s contempo almanac of convalescent subscriber trends and expectations that EVO will allure new customers.
“We’re still appealing aboriginal in Sprint’s turnaround. If that turnaround continues to work, there’s affluence added allowance for the banal to move up,” he said. “The key metric we’re attractive at to barometer the turnaround is postpaid bazaar share. That’s connected to advance for several quarters.”
As for EVO, Rethemeier cautioned that Sprint would not allure the continued curve of barter that Apple Inc (AAPL.O) greets at its food during an iPhone launch. But he said its success would be credible after in the year.
“I don’t anticipate we appetite to abject how able-bodied this buzz is activity to do on the aboriginal weekend,” he said. “EVO is a acceptable buzz and it’s activity to advice them in the additional bisected of the year.”
David Dixon of FBR Capital markets has a $6 amount ambition on Sprint. Even after EVO he sees the aggregation accomplishing a better-than-expected job this division of alluring and befitting admired postpaid subscribers who pay account bills.
He additionally has aerial hopes for EVO, the aboriginal U.S. buzz that supports fourth bearing (4G) abstracts arrangement speeds.
“4G adverse in 2010 is alone allotment of the turnaround thesis. The EVO 4G is the aboriginal in a portfolio of 4G devices.” Dixon said customer absorption in EVO is the arch he’s anytime apparent for a Sprint phone. As a aftereffect he sees it affairs 400,000 in the phone’s aboriginal abounding division on the market.
And excluding EVO, Dixon said he now expects Sprint to do decidedly bigger this division than his own estimate,
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