Stronger signals from Nokia

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The world’s largest cellphone maker Nokia reported a smaller than expected fall in third-quarter profits as price cuts and new models lifted sales of its basic cellphones in key markets like India.

The numbers sparked hopes that the struggling Finnish company can survive what has so far been a painful revamp of its smartphone business and Nokia shares jumped more than 10 per cent to their highest level since May.

Nokia added that its first Windows phone would reach selected markets this year, the first step in its fight for a slice of the high end of the smartphone market. The new phone will be launched next week.

“If things go even close to the company’s plans, I do believe we have seen the bottom for Nokia,” said Nordea analyst Sami Sarkamies.

Nokia sold 89.8 million basic mobile phones in the quarter, beating all analysts’ expectations, as sales soared in Asia, Middle East and Africa.

The company will have to work hard to protect its position in emerging markets like India as rivals like Apple push in with cheaper smartphones.

The Finnish handset maker reported third quarter underlying earnings per share of 0.03 euros, compared with a forecast loss of 0.01 euros in a Reuters poll of analysts and a profit of 0.14 euros a year ago.

“The results were clearly better than expected. The mobile phones volumes shipped had the biggest role, also the smartphone volumes were on a higher level than expected,” said Swedbank analyst Jari Honko.