Nokia shares tumble after Lumia 920 debut disappoints investors

Nokia Oyj shares tumbled the most in almost three months after the introduction of two Lumia smartphones with Microsoft Corp.’s new Windows Phone software failed to impress investors.

The stock fell 13 percent to 1.99 euros in Helsinki, the biggest one-day decline since June 14. The stock had rallied 96 percent from an 18-year low on July 18 through Aug. 27 in anticipation of the new phones.

Nokia is counting on its partnership with Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft to help boost sales and return the company to profitability after falling behind rivals. The Espoo, Finland-based company has identified the U.S. as a market where it has to win back users and gain momentum in its global comeback bid. The question is whether the new phones break enough ground, said Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight.

“The challenge Nokia will face is that consumers will struggle to see how the hardware has really stepped forward from the previous generation of products,” the London-based Blaber said in an interview.

Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop, who unveiled the new phones at a news conference in New York, also didn’t provide details on price, carriers or availability, beyond saying they will go on sale in the fourth quarter. The Lumia 920 has a 4.5-inch (11-cm) screen and an 8.7-megapixel camera with a so-called floating lens that uses software for image stabilization. The Lumia 820, whose screen measures 4.3 inches, has an 8-megapixel camera without the optics software.

‘Important Step’

“Today is a very important step, and there are more important steps ahead,” Elop said in an interview. “There’s no single turning point. We need to succeed with this and take it to the next step.”

The announcement of the Lumia models gives Nokia a brief head start before two top rivals present their own newest handsets. Motorola Mobility, a unit of Google Inc., is planning to unveil one of the first full-screen phones in the U.S. later today in New York, according to a person familiar with the plan. Apple Inc., maker of the iPhone, is planning its own introduction on Sept. 12.

“The U.S. is very important,” Elop said. “These trends we’ve seen in our industry have been starting here and moving east.”

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