RIM phones in big Q2 earnings, issues bullish forecast

BlackBerry maker's sales jump 31% over last year; shares rise in after-hours trading

Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, on Thursday reported more than a two-thirds increase in second-quarter profits over last year.

The eye-popping results briefly sent company shares soaring in after-hours trading, offsetting some of the stock's 20 percent losses since mid-June. (We'll see how it holds up in regular trading on Friday.)

RIM's earnings were $796.7 million, or $1.46 per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 28, a whopping 68 percent increase over last year's Q2 figures of $475.6 million, or 83 cents per share. The company's revenue for Q2 was $4.62 billion, an increase of 31 percent over last year.

Consensus Wall Street estimates had forecast earnings for RIM of $1.36 per share and sales of $4.49 billion.

The only sour note in the Q2 report involved new subscribers. RIM reported it had signed up 4.5 million new customers in Q2, short of the 5 million forecast by analysts. But the shipment of 12.1 million smart phones exceeded analysts' predictions of 11.8 million shipped units and set a record for the Canada-based company.

Looking ahead, RIM said it anticipates Q3 revenue of $5.3 billion to $5.55 billion and net income of $1.62 to $1.70 per share, exceeding consensus forecasts of $4.85 billion in sales and earnings of $1.39 per share.

Much of this optimism is based on new products such as the BlackBerry Torch, which was introduced over the summer.

RIM's stock (NASDAQ: RIMM) closed Thursday at $46.49. Shares briefly topped $50 in early after-hours trading before dipping below $48 by 6:20 p.m.

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