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BlackBerry returns not abnormally high: Jefferies

A view shows a cracked cookie with a Blackberry logo at the Blackberry Z10 launch at a Rogers store in Toronto February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Mar
A view shows a cracked cookie with a Blackberry logo at the Blackberry Z10 launch at a Rogers store in Toronto February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Mar

TORONTO (Reuters) - No abnormally high return rates have been seen for the new Z10 touchscreen device that underpins BlackBerry's attempt to reinvent itself, and demand appears to be positive in Asia, Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek said in a report on Tuesday.

BlackBerry has already said it will ask regulators to investigate a report from Boston-based Detwiler Fenton of high return rates for the new device, which is the first BlackBerry to use the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Misek, a long-time bear on BlackBerry, turned bullish on the stock late last year.

He said BlackBerry, which changed its name from Research In Motion when it launched the Z10, was increasing its build plan for new devices powered by the Blackberry 10 operating system. He expects BlackBerry to launch two or three additional models before the end of the year.

That would be in addition to the already-announced Q10, which launches in some countries later this month and which uses the mini keyboard that has long been one of BlackBerry's biggest selling points.

"Our checks indicate that builds for Q10 have kicked into high gear and led overall BB10 builds to increase from 2 million a month to 2 million plus," he wrote. "Anecdotal Asia demand checks were positive and U.S. checks indicate that return rates are not abnormally high."

BlackBerry's stock was up 2.1 percent at $14 in premarket trading. The volatile shares have more than doubled in value from last year's low of $6.22.

(Reporting by Janet Guttsman; editing by John Wallace)

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