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IBM affirms outlook


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IBM affirms outlook, shares rise inlatetrading

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By John Letzing, MarketWatch
Last update: 7:49 p.m. EDT Oct. 8, 2008
Comments: 150
 
 
SAN FRANCISCO(MarketWatch)--IBM Corp., bucking the global panic that has grippedmarketsandtechnology shares, surprised Wall Street Wednesdayeveningbyreleasing its earnings early, reporting a 20% gain innetincome,and reaffirming its forecast for theyear.
 
IBM (IBM:
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IBM 91.90, +1.35, +1.5%) said its third-quarter net income grew to $2.8 billion, or $2.05 a share, compared to $2.36 billion, or $1.68 a share in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile revenue rose to $25.3 billion compared to $24.1 billion. For the full year, IBM reaffirmed its earnings target of at least $8.75 a share, an increase of 22% over the prior period.
"We remain confident in our full-yearoutlook,"IBMChief Executive Samuel Palmisano said inapreparedstatement.
Analysts surveyed by FactSetResearchexpectedthird-quarter earnings of $2.01 a share on revenueof$26.5billion, and earnings of $8.74 a share for thefullyear.
Shares of IBM rose more than 6% inlatetradingfollowing the earnings announcement, to $96.18. Theshareshadfared relatively well throughout the turmoil infinancialmarketsduring recent months but began to tank last weekalong withtheNasdaq ($COMPQ:
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$COMPQ 1,733.81, -6.52, -0.4%) as nervous investors ditched technology shares amid concern about the slowing economy.
Palmisano cited "a steady base ofrecurringrevenueand profits, investments for growth in emergingmarkets, arange ofproducts and services that deliver value toclients, and astrongand flexible financial foundation."
Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM said it willprovidemoredetailed financial results later. IBM is expected topost itsfullquarterly results next Thursday.
Concerns have mounted over IBM'sprospectsrecently,as many of its business customers are expected tocut backamid theongoing credit crisis. Seerelated story.
Some analysts had even suggested thecompanymightissue a warning about its third-quarter results priortotheirscheduled release, rather than a strong profit gainandpositiveaffirmation for the full year.
IBM is one of a number of technologybellwethersdueto report highly-anticipated financial resultsincomingweeks.
Google Inc. (GOOG:
google inc cl a
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GOOG 340.60, +2.49, +0.7%) is expected to report third-quarter results next Thursday, amid concerns that its online advertising sales have already been hampered by the slowdown. A number of Wall Street analysts have recently trimmed their estimates for Google's quarter, though the company itself traditionally provides no guidance for future results.
On Tuesday, shares of Google dipped belowthe$350mark for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Other tech bellwethers expected to postresultssooninclude Apple Inc. (AAPL:
Apple Inc
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AAPL 91.77, +1.98, +2.2%) , which is expected to post fiscal fourth-quarter results Oct. 21, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:
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MSFT 23.42, +0.41, +1.8%) , which is expected to report its fiscal first-quarter results Oct. 23. End of Story
John Letzing isaMarketWatchreporter based in San Francisco.
 
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