Nokia (NOK) shares rose on Friday after Goldman Sachs analyst Alexander Duval upgraded the communications equipment company to buy from neutral.
He raised his price target to $6.50 from $4.90, giving him the highest target of analysts tracked by Bloomberg.
Duval said he’s “factoring in a better 5G spending backdrop, wireless product progress and [market]-share gain potential.”
Nokia recently traded at $5.53, up 7.5%. It has surged 42% over the past six months.
“Nokia has underperformed peer Ericsson ERIC by 75% (and European tech by 67%) in the last three years,” Duval said.
That’s due to “lagging wireless equipment product quality, share losses and negative earnings-per-share revisions. However, we see scope for upside.”
First, “wireless market demand continues to improve, driven by 5G,” he said.
Second, “there is evidence that Nokia’s wireless base-station product position for 5G is improving, suggesting they can regain their place as a key tech enabler for cellular connectivity.”
And third, “we see scope for [market]-share gains from Chinese vendors such as Huawei, especially in Europe,” Duval said.
Nokia’s first-quarter earnings beat analyst expectations. Revenue increased 3% to 5.08 billion euros ($6.16 billion), beating analysts' forecast of $4.74 billion.
Net income totaled $451.5 million, or about 7 cents a share, beating analysts' consensus estimate of 1 cent a share.
Under the agreement, Nokia will provide its latest fifth-generation equipment to power 5G on AT&T’s C-Band network.