TSX market mystery as Blackberry surge triggers circuit breaker

But the Ontario firm doesn't know why it has suddenly attracted the attention of investors

TSX market mystery as Blackberry surge triggers circuit breaker
Steve Randall

Blackberry stock surged Monday but the reason appears to have bemused the Waterloo, ON, firm.

In a day of mixed fortunes for global markets with Wall Street closing mixed following loses in the UK and Europe, the 20% jump for the Canadian tech firm pushed its shares to their highest value in a decade.

Such was the rush for Blackberry stock, the regulator’s circuit breaker was triggered to give the market a chance to slow down.

With shares trading for $26.51 at their high point, a 48% jump from last Friday’s closing price, Blackberry made a statement that there was no undisclosed or material change in their business which would account for the surge.

Blackberry was already in focus for TSX investors following a sell-off of shares by at least two of the firm’s directors recently. The chief financial officer and chief marketing officer sold shares worth more than $1.4 million between them last week.

“The executives traded during an open trading window as permitted under company policy, and all of our executives continue to have strong equity-based incentives through our long-term equity program,” BlackBerry said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Those sales followed a recent settlement of a long-standing dispute between Blackberry and Facebook and other positive business news.

Investor exuberance

However, Monday’s gains for Blackberry stock may have less to do with optimism driven by the company’s wins and more to do with investor confidence.

Despite analysts tipping in favour of a ‘hold’ for Blackberry, the buying frenzy is likely to reflect investor exuberance according to Ophir Gottlieb, CEO of trading firm Capital Market Labs.

"BB is moving on Reddit boards," he told CBC News.  "Not much else to say, but this is not a single stock story; it is a behavioural story."