Good news for Nokia, but it's not clear how good

11/19/2012 6:23 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

Not clear how “good” the good news really is, but certainly better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Nokia’s new Lumia 920 smartphone, a product that is supposed to begin the turnaround at the troubled cell phone maker, has sold out in Germany. It’s not clear from these reports, though, exactly how many phones German retailers had in stock. (In the U.S. many AT&T stores sold out on Lumia 920 launch weekend but many only began with 20 or so in stock.)

More meaningful is news that the phone has taken the #2 spot in Germany on Amazon.com’s list of top-selling mobile devices sold with contracts.

Nokia has always been a stronger brand in Europe than in the United States so good news on sales in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom doesn’t necessarily translate into good numbers in the home market of Windows Phone 8 operating system maker Microsoft. Early reports from Microsoft watchers say that the Windows 8 operating system for computers is running behind Microsoft’s sales targets but that Windows Phone 8 sales are running ahead of expectations.

Again, it’s hard to know exactly what this means without knowing what those expectations were. But considering disappointing sale for Nokia’s earlier Lumia 900 and fears that the 920 would go the same way, even this vague report is encouraging. In the United States AT&T (T) sells the Lumia 920 for $99.99 on a two-year contract. That’s cheaper than either Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 5 or Samsung’s Galaxy SIII.

But then, considering that Nokia is trying to claw back market share, selling the phone at a lower price is an absolute necessity.

Shares of Nokia were up 6.14% as of the close today in New York.

Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund http://jubakfund.com/ , may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. The fund owned shares of Nokia as of the end of September. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of September see the fund’s portfolio at http://jubakfund.com/about-the-fund/holdings/

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