RIM Remains The One To Beat

Research in Motion had an answer late Thursday for all the hype over Apple’s iPhone: when it comes to the market for handheld devices, RIM’s got a big head start.

RIM shares soared 14% to $190 a share in after-hours trading after the company trounced Wall Street estimates and announced a three-for-one stock split. The company’s sales were $1.082 billion, up 77% from the year-ago quarter 16% sequentially. Analysts were expecting sales of $1.05 billion. RIM’s earnings of $1.17 a share were 11 cents better than expected, and subscriber growth of 1.2 million topped estimates by 60,000.

The company will ship its 20 millionth BlackBerry device this summer.

But competitor Palm didn’t fare nearly as well, falling after hours after the company missed sales estimates and warned that current quarter results will come in below expectations.

Also after the close, Micron and Accenture rose about 2% each on their earnings reports, and Western Digital said it will acquire Komag .

Stocks were mixed in Thursday’s trading session despite a policy statement from the Federal Reserve that seemed to indicate a lower risk of inflation.

Red Hat fell 7.5% despite beating estimates, and Smart Modular lost 10% after missing sales estimates.

Digital River and LSI lost 11% each after warning that their results will fail to meet analysts’ expectations. Novellus lost 3% after lowering its outlook.

The Nasdaq gained 3 to 2608, the S&P 500 was down fractionally to 1505, and the Dow slipped 5 to 13,422. Volume declined to 2.95 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.02 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancing issues led by an 18-13 margin on the NYSE, and 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 52% on the NYSE, and 54% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 104-45 on the NYSE, and 160-60 on the Nasdaq.

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