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Moto's Signs of Hope

Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) shares rose today after the firm posted its first profit in 2007 and pinned its hope on new phones in the coming months.

In reporting third-quarter results, the phone vendor still posted a 94 percent drop in profit from a year ago and is losing market share, but analysts and investors think the company is starting to turn its business around.

Motorola's third-quarter net income was $60 million -- versus $968 million in the same quarter a year ago -- on revenues of $8.81 billion.

The company's mobile phone unit reported losses of $138 million in the quarter, compared with an $843 million profit a year ago. Still losing ground to Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and others, Motorola estimates its share of the gloabal market dropped by 13 percent during the summer.

Still, analysts believe the company has hit bottom and is rebounding, a trend that should continue in the last quarter of 2007. A report from Nomura Securities noted that earnings before income tax came ahead of that firm's forecast, at losses of $138 million versus Nomura's prediction of a $242 million loss, or the Wall Street consensus of a $179 million loss.

Moreover, Nomura noted that new products in the fourth quarter could raise Motorola's revenues by 11 percent over the third quarter.

Specifically, on the product front, CEO Ed Zander and company are pinning their hopes on sales of newer phones like the RAZR2 during the holiday season.

Investors were cheered by the signs of hope after a rough year for Motorola. The company's shares were up 77 cents (4.2%) at $19.32 late today.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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