MKM Partners downgraded BlackBerry Inc.'s (BBY-N 17.02 -0.39 -2.24%) (BB-T 13.48 -0.65 -4.6%) shares to "sell" and cut its price target on worries over slowing sales of the BlackBerry 10 and the lack of apps on the new device.
Michael Genovese, analyst at MKM Partners, downgraded the shares to "sell" from "neutral" and lowered its12-month price target to $10 US from $12.
"The Z10 has been launched in the U.K. and after the first week, the signs were pretty good that the sell through was going O.K. There was some pent up demand for the device," Genovese told BNN. "But here in the second and third week our checks are telling us that the momentum has slowed considerably."
Genovese also slashed his estimates on a later-than-expected U.S. BB10 launch. The analyst's original expectation for the American Z10 launch was for mid-February, but it has been pushed back to late March, and the Q10 - which features a keyboard - has slipped to late April.
As a result, Genovese lowered his Z10 sales expectations to 400,000 units for the latest quarter from 1.5 million units originally. The analyst now expects revenue of $2.57 billion or a loss of 31 cents a share in the latest quarter from a previous estimate of $2.81 billion, or a loss of 27 cents.
And in the first-quarter of the company's fiscal 2014 Genovese sees shipments of 1.8 million units down from an earlier estimate of 3 million units.
BlackBerry, which changed its name from Research in Motion last month, launched the Z10 touch phone recently in Canada and the U.K.
Genovese is also concerned about the "formidable gap" in apps featured on the new phone compared with other devices from Apple (AAPL-Q) and Samsung.
"We still have a little bit of a hype cycle in front of the U.S. launch ahead of us, but I feel confident enough that particularly the application environment is not strong enough to make this a strong product against Apple," he said.
Genovese notes that fewer than 10 percent of the 100 most popular Android apps and less than 5 percent of the most popular iPhone apps (both free and paid) are available for BB10 and not a single top-50-grossing app on Android or the iPhone can be acquired for the Z10.
"We are disappointed that BlackBerry has not had more success in attracting popular developers and partners to the BB10 ecosystem. Without a much larger (and popular) set of applications to choose from, we believe consumers will have little incentive to switch to BB10 from Android or Apple devices," Genovese wrote in a note also published on Friday.
Earlier this week, Canaccord analyst Michael Walkley maintained his "sell" rating on BlackBerry on worries about modest initial sales and the timing of its new Z10 smartphone.
Walkley, who has a $9.00 US a share target price for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, lowered his BB10 sales estimates for the latest quarter to 300,000 units from 1.75 million units.