Nokia's (NOK) lead in the cell-phone market could narrow slightly as competition heats up and the big Finn comes up short on cool new models, say some observers.The latest to take the circumspect approach is Lehman Brothers analyst Tim Luke, who Thursday cut his projections for Nokia's global handset market share to 38.3% for the next two quarters. That's down from 39%. Though the industry is enjoying record worldwide demand for phones, Luke says Nokia's winning strengths in design and marketing are now being matched by slick offerings from outfits such as Samsung, LG, Siemens ( SI) and No. 2 cell-phone seller Motorola ( MOT). In particular, the new crop of midpriced color screen phones from rivals is aimed directly at the upgrade cycles in Nokia's strongest markets, which include Europe and the U.S. There, longtime users are looking to trade in older models for new phones with more features, says Luke in a research note. Lehman has a neutral rating on Nokia. The Helsinki phone giant unveiled five new phones at two recent trade shows, where gearmakers typically
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Nokia in 2004
Nokia shares rose 48 cents, or 2.5%, to $20.02. The stock is up some 20% on the year but has been mostly flat since an early January rally that was fueled by hopes of an industrywide spending surge.