Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) has received two big upgrades from major firms today—the same day three firms downgraded Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Nokia’s upgrades come from Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)—one of the firms which downgraded Apple—and RBC Capital Markets.
Shares of Nokia rose as much as 5 percent at the New York Stock Exchange after the two firms released their upgrade reports.
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View of Nokia more positive after Microsoft deal
RBC Capital analyst Mark Sue (via Financial Post) upgraded Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) from Sector Perform to Outperform and raised his price target to $7 a share from $5 a share. In his upgrade report, he indicated that he is more positive about Nokia now that it has struck a deal to sell its devices division to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).
The analyst said the company’s risk / reward scenario is more attractive in light of that deal and noted that his view of the wireless infrastructure market is becoming more favorable. He believes that big carrier upgrades in North America and Europe could be major drivers for wireless infrastructure stocks, which is basically what Nokia will be after it sells the devices division. As a result, he believes Nokia shares will be carried higher along with the stocks of other wireless infrastructure companies.
Nokia’s plans post-devices sale
Sue points out that Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) will have around $10.7 billion in net cash after making its deals with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Siemens. As a result, the company could use that cash to add more scale to its network, additional services, or new software through acquisitions.
He believes Nokia is also considering bolstering its patent portfolio so that it can build on its annual licensing payments of around $687.5 million (€500 million) from Microsoft. According to his analysis, on an incremental basis Nokia will have a steady stream of €500M for many years ahead from non-Microsoft entities.” Sue, like other analysts, has high hopes for Nokia’s new patent licensing business.
Nokia upgraded to Buy at Bank of America
Bank of America analyst Didier Scemama (via Benzinga) also upgraded Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V), moving his rating on the stock to Buy from Neutral. The analyst also increased revenue and earnings forecasts for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, “reflecting a more bullish view” based on Nokia Siemens Networks and the company’s Advanced Technologies patent licensing division.