RIMM Risk In Getting ‘Too Negative,’ Analyst Says

As Research In Motion falls out of favor with many investors with shares hitting an 8-year low, one “Fast Money” analyst maintained a hold rating on the stock.

The smartphone maker announced a delay in its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, drawing at least one assessment that the situation was a “death knell” for the company.

So why not sell?

“The only reason is the stock is now at a point where it is trading at tangible book value,” Morgan Keegan analst Tavis McCourt said Friday. “There’s probably too much risk in getting too negative on the stock here. It wouldn’t take much to make it pop on the strategic front. I don’t want to sugarcoat it; operationally, things are pretty bad right now.”

RIM stock fell 11 percent in trading on Friday to close at $13.44.

A significant change in strategy would likely be needed to turn things around for the company, McCourt said. Such changes could include retrenching and serving a niche market instead of trying to be a global handset provider.

But no such plans were in the works, he noted.

McCourt lowered fiscal year 2013 EPS estimates to $2.96 from $3.35, with a price target of $17 per share.

“You’ve got a couple of more quarters, at least, where earnings wil continue to go down,” he said. “They’re still going to make money. This is not a company that all of a sudden is going to start losing money anytime soon.”

On the upside, RIM has advantages outside the United States, McCourt said.

“Until some kind of strategic decision is made, it’s really hard to take a flyer here,” he added.

McCourt likened it to his recent upgrade of Motorola.

“You knew Motorola, when they were ran into trouble and they couldn’t scale the business, you knew you had a very rational and unemotional CEO and lead investor who would look at options,” he said. “We don’t have that right now at RIM.”

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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 16, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Grasso owns ASTM; Grasso owns AVAV; Grasso owns BA; Grasso owns D; Grasso owns LIT; Grasso owns MH; Grasso owns PFE; Grasso owns PRST; Grasso owns S; Grasso owns XLU; Kinahan is long C; Kinahan is long MSFT and short calls; Kinahan has INTC short puts; Kinahan is long YHOO;

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