A Case for Shorting Nokia

Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) is the mobile market leader, trades for less than 13 times forward earnings, and pays an estimated 4.1% dividend yield as of this writing.

It's also a stock worth shorting.

Not only is Nokia under global attack from the iPhone, but carriers show signs of being less willing to bet big on the Finnish phenom's Symbian smartphone operating system. For example, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL  ) has deals with Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) and Taiwan's HTC for intelligent handsets based on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android OS.

Nokia has responded by diversifying. An agreement with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has brought the Office Mobile productivity suite to Symbian. The company has also entered the netbook business, selling its Booklet 3G through AT&T (NYSE: T  ) .

Sounds good, right? Sure. Trouble is, the Microsoft partnership hasn't done anything to stem Nokia's market share losses. From September to November, its share of smartphone requests on AdMob's mobile network fell from 22.2% to 16.3%.

Google, meanwhile, is gearing up to deliver a broadside to Nokia in netbooks. Early reports of the tech specs for Chrome OS netbooks are impressive. IBTimes says the list includes an NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) chipset teamed with an ARM processor powering a multi-touch, high-definition-ready display, and a 64-gigabyte solid-state drive. Google also wants its netbooks to connect to Wi-Fi and 3G networks. All signs point to a small but powerful machine.

But if I see this a threat, our 145,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community isn't as worried:

Metric

Nokia

Recent price

$12.92

CAPS stars (5 max)

****

Total ratings

2,674

Percent bulls

92.6%

Percent bears

7.4%

% Above 52-week low

52.5%

Sources: CAPS, Yahoo! Finance. Data current as of Dec. 31.

"Nokia is the [world's] largest maker of mobile devices and it's trading at a considerable discount compared to its peers," wrote CAPS investor mbhoch in October. "Although they seem to be falling behind in the 'smart phone race,' I think they have some big projects in the works, and have been working in collaboration with some highly effective companies like Cisco, Samsung, and Sony. I think Nokia is a great company, that's trading under its value currently."

I disagree, and I've shorted Nokia in CAPS as a result. But that's also just my take. What would you do? Would you short Nokia at today's prices? Let us know by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate. You can also weigh in using the comments box below.

NVIDIA is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Microsoft and Nokia are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is taller than you expected, yes?


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 02, 2010, at 4:08 AM, jolaz wrote:

    I don't about Nokia, but Nvidia's Tegra processors are going to be the standard chip for the new tablet being developed by Fusion Garage and others -- Microsoft, Apple, and God knows who else. Who knows if tablets will take off, but even if they don't, Nvidia's chips will find a home in other mobile devices.

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