Can Nokia And Motorola Get Upgraded At The Same Time?

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Several analysts have upgrades shares in Motorola (MOT). The reasoning is that, with new models coming out, and much of the backlog in inventory for old products like the RAZR drying up, MOT could have a good fourth quarter.

But, Lehman has upgraded Nokia (NOK) and raised its price target to $38. The shares now trade just above $38. The reasoning behind the upgrade, according to Barron’s, is "a raft of new phones in the fourth quarter, the addition of touch-screen capabilities to some phones" will give the company improved sales in the last part of 2007 and well into 2008. Lehman also said that Nokia’s global market share could move to over 40%. Recently it has been closer to 25%.

Someone has to be wrong about all of these handset providers. Samsung recently passed Motorola at the world No.2 supplier of wireless phones. Sony Ericsson has been growing very fast and is adding models that will help it get into China and India. And, the overall market for handsets is not growing quickly now, perhaps less than 10%.

Motorola has done so poorly over the last year and its product release program is so vague, that it is still probably the company that has the worst chance of improving its fortunes over the next year. That will make for a tough ride for its long-suffering shareholders.

Douglas A. McIntyre