The Disconnect Between Microsoft and Nokia

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you were holding shares of Nokia (NOK) on Thursday you probably still have that queasy feeling in your stomach after the shares plunged almost 10% at one point. The stocks closed at $7.03, down nearly 9%, and are off over 13% for the year to date.

Microsoft's (MSFT) plan to purchase Nokia's floundering handset division for around 5.4 billion euro ($7.2 billion) apparently did not help things when it came to Nokia's fourth-quarter earnings.

NOK shareholders overwhelmingly approved the deal in November 2013 and the transaction is expected to close sometime during the first quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval.

After NOK announced it experienced a net loss of 25 million euros ($34 million) in the final quarter of 2013 and that smartphone sales fell 29%, the Helsinki stock market dumped Nokia shares. Yes, it was hellish in Helsinki and NOK stock closed down 10% over there.

Here in the U.S. NOK opened Thursday at $7.24, down almost 6% from the previous day's closing price. Shares hit a nadir of $6.88 before closing at $7.03. The three-month average daily volume of around 24 million shares was greatly exceeded on Thursday, with almost 85 million shares trading hands.

The division of Nokia that will be purchased soon by MSFT saw an ugly downturn. Sales nosedived to 2.6 billion euros from 3.7 billion euros in the year-ago period. This segment recorded an operating loss of 198 million euros compared with a profit of 97 million a year earlier. It's a wonder shares of NOK didn't close even lower.

Let's look at Nokia's one-year price chart. It doesn't show the results from the latest quarter -- but if not for the fact that Microsoft was buying its devices and services unit, NOK's stock price would be down in the direction of its diluted quarterly earnings per share and free-falling cash from operations.

NOK Chart
data by YCharts

You can read all the gory details of the fourth-quarter financial results at the company's Web site. As the Associated Press reported, the results didn't mean that Nokia didn't sell a lot of cell phones in the final quarter of last year. NOK sold 30 million Lumia handsets in the full-year 2013, about twice as many as in 2012. It also launched several new Lumia models, including its first large screen smartphones and its first tablet, the Lumia 2520.

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