Suddenly, tech rallies are all the rage.
The latest: Research In Motion (NYSE:BB). Shares are up more than 21% over the past week on all sorts of bad news.
First and worst: Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is pursuing RIM for royalties due from using its designs for Wi-Fi radios in BlackBerry handsets. AllThingsD reports that could amount to $2 to $5 each on a thus-far indeterminate number of handsets.
Second, but also awful for how it continues a trend: The National Transportation Safety Board is switching to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone ahead of the launch of the BlackBerry 10, an ambitious handset due in January that's supposed to reverse RIM's fortunes. Or at least stop the bleeding for a while.
NTSB officials don't seem to care. The agency will instead work with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) to replace existing handsets with the iPhone 5: "These Apple devices will replace the NTSB's existing BlackBerry devices, which have been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate ... The NTSB requires effective, reliable and stable communication capabilities to carry-out its primary investigative mission and to ensure employee safety in remote locations."
How is RIM rallying with news like this? Do investors somehow see this as a value play?
By the numbers, it could be. RIM's 0.37 price-to-sales ratio reflects the awful truth that investors don't think a dollar of RIM sales is worth a dollar in market value. The stock also trades for less than the tangible assets identified on its books. A discount to liquidation value, in other words, which could explain the size and scope of the rally.
You might even say it's not all that different than the recent pop in Apple's shares after weeks of irrational selling.
But if that's your claim, realize that you're betting RIM can sell assets for what the company deems they're worth. Investors may take a very different view of what equals fair value, especially when we don't yet know if the BlackBerry 10 has the chops to live up to the hype coming from headquarters.
Do you believe the rally in Research In Motion's shares is justified? Why or why not? Please weigh in using the comments box below.