* Brokerages up target price on IBM shares
* IBM's plan to double profit by 2015 intact- analyst
* Shares rise as much as 3.3 pct to all-time high
(Rewrites to focus on share milestone)
March 9 Shares of International Business
Machines Corp (IBM.N) hit a lifetime high on Wednesday as
analysts welcomed the tech giant's commitment to double its
profit by 2015.
IBM shares rose as much as 3.3 percent to $167.72, their
highest level on record adjusted for stock splits, as a host of
analysts raised their target price on the company, the day
after it reaffirmed its ambitious 2015 earnings target.
The optimism was limited to IBM. Shares of rivals Microsoft
Corp (MSFT.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Hewlett-Packard Co
(HPQ.N) all fell.
In May last year, the company forecast it would roughly
double its profit to at least $20 per share by 2015 as it
pushes further into emerging markets and lucrative services and
software businesses. [ID:nN11118695]
The company held to that plan in a meeting with analysts on
Tuesday. Progress has been faster than anticipated in some key
areas, notably acquisitions, RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit
Daryanani said in a note.
Daryanani, who raised his target price on the shares to
$176 from $165, said the investor day showed IBM's plan remains
intact, which is a positive for shareholders.
"IBM has numerous arrows in its quiver to meet its
long-term EPS guidance, with substantial financial
flexibility," Bank of America Merrill Lynch said. The brokerage
raised its target price on IBM shares by $10 to $190.
IBM shares were up $4.42, or 2.7 percent, to $166.70 in
afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
(For a table of price target revisions please click:
(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Supantha Mukherjee in
Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Tim Dobbyn)