TORONTO BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) shares jumped as much as 10 percent on Thursday, extending recent gains after an influential investment firm said the Canadian technology company's stock could double as a multiyear turnaround effort starts to show fruit.
BlackBerry's stock has surged nearly 70 percent over the past two months as deals with automakers and other business wins have boosted confidence in the company's prospects.
Citron Research said in a report on Thursday that it expects the momentum to continue.
"When Wall Street shifts its frame of expectations toward the future, and gets over their legacy business, watch out," the report said.
The firm, run by Andrew Left, is not known for talking up stocks, having risen to prominence by publishing free reports on firms it regards as overvalued or engaged in fraud.
Citron was first to accuse Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) of inflating its revenues via a related pharmacy channel in 2015, prompting that company to overhaul its business model.
BlackBerry has abandoned a business model focused on the sale of its own phones to selling software for securing mobile devices and automobiles and cyber security consulting services.
Citron said it has high expectations for sales of BlackBerry's QNX secure industrial operating system.
QNX is installed in more than 60 million cars, where it is used to run infotainment and telematics systems, which Citron said dwarfs the 16 million unit installed base of Mobileye, an autonomous vehicle technology company that chipmaker Intel Corp said it would buy for $15.3 billion in March.
BlackBerry hopes to use that position to win more automotive business related directly to autonomous driving.
BlackBerry's QNX division said in October that it was working with Ford Motor Co (F.N) as it develops increasingly automated vehicles, and executives have said they are in advanced discussions with several other major global automakers about similar partnerships.
"QNX is not 'betting' on which technology will win," Citron said, adding that it was a "backbone" that could work with cameras and remote sensing technology that helps vehicles assess and adapt to their surroundings.
A Macquarie financial analyst said last month that BlackBerry is working with at least two automakers to develop a security service that would remotely scan vehicles for computer viruses and tell drivers to pull over if they were in critical danger.
The stock hit a four-year high of C$15.82 in Toronto with some 4 million shares changing hands as of midday, more than double the three-month daily average.
Citron also said that a new BlackBerry asset-tracking product for trucking and logistics companies, which is known as "Radar," could help boost future earnings.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jim Finkle and Bill Rigby)