IBM -2% as $20 EPS target outweighed by cash flow questions

|By:, SA News Editor

IBM (IBM -1.9%) execs tried to convince those at its analyst day meeting today that its business will stabilize, but apparently skepticism abounds, as shares are the weakest performer on the Dow near the close.

CFO Martin Schroeter reiterated IBM's EPS target for 2015 of “at least $20,” a matter that was scrutinized by the Street in reports leading up to the meeting.

Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes writes that the points discussed today are about as expected, but he's more concerned with cash flow than with the EPS goals; IBM's free cash flow has trended below non-GAAP EPS for the last two years, which could point toward longer term problems, and Reitzes sees $16B free cash flow guidance as challenging considering how much it must need working capital improvements to hit that figure.