IBM Beats Fourth Quarter Estimates, 'Confident' About 2010

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IBM Tuesday beat Wall Street’s estimates for the fourth quarter, reporting income of $4.8 billion, or $3.59 per share, a 10 percent jump from the year ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $27.2 billion, down slightly when adjusted for currency. (Statement)

Analysts had been expecting earnings of $3.47 per share on sales of $26.98 billion.

For the fiscal year, the company reported net income of $13.4 billion, or $13.01 per share, a 13 percent gain over the previous year. Sales for the year were $95.8 billion, an 8 percent drop from the previous year. Looking ahead, the company said it expects eps of “at least $11.”

Gross profit margin for the quarter was $48.3 percent, up slightly. For the year, the margin was 45.7 percent.

In a statement, IBM’s Chairman, president and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano, said:

IBM continued to benefit from our strategic transformation, offerings that our clients value in this economy, and our commitment to developing countries around the world. In 2009, we invested in opportunities such as Smarter Planet solutions, cloud computing and advanced analytics. These new capabilities position IBM to grow as the economy recovers. The increased operational leverage we have established by creating a globally integrated enterprise will enable us to drive greater profits as revenue growth returns. We are confident about 2010 and our ability to achieve the high end of our long-term roadmap.

The company will host a conference call with analysts this afternoon. Shares of IBM were up in regular trading, closing at $134.14. Shares initially dipped in after-hours trading but are rising again.

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