* Q4 revenue of $29.3 bln vs Street view $29.05 bln
* Q4 EPS was $5.39 vs $5.25, sees 2013 EPS of at least
* Shares up more than 4 percent
(Recasts; adds more analyst comments, stock price, byline)
By Nicola Leske
Jan 22 IBM, the world's largest
technology services company, promised better than expected
full-year growth after its fourth-quarter results beat
estimates, a sign that fears of corporate delays in technology
spending may have been overblown.
Companies had been widely expected to hold back on IT
purchases in December in part because of worries about the
so-called U.S. fiscal cliff. Automatic tax hikes and spending
cuts would have been triggered had Congress not arrived at a
deal to avert the cliff, and could have pushed the weak U.S.
economy into recession.
International Business Machines Corp said on Tuesday that it
plans to achieve earnings of at least $16.70 a share for the
full year, above analysts' consensus forecast of $16.57.
Its quarterly net income rose 10 percent to $6.1 billion, or
$5.39 a share from $4.71 a year earlier. Revenue dropped 1
percent to $29.3 billion.
Analysts had expected the Armonk, New York-based company to
report net income of $5.95 billion, or $5.25 a share, on revenue
of $29.05 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue in Brazil, India, Russia and China increased by 7
percent in 2012, or 12 percent adjusted for currency
fluctuations. It grew 11 percent in the fourth quarter.
Some analysts said IBM's results were a sign that tech
spending was improving.
"It is better than what people had feared," said Brian
Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group.
"Virtually every segment did a little bit better than people
expected. It supports the fact that things are getting better
out there at least from a tech industry standpoint."
Andrew Bartels, an analyst with research firm Forrester
Research, said "we were expecting a lot of companies were
sitting on their wallets until it became clear what was going to
become of the fiscal cliff."
"Given the fact it's Q4 with a cloud of the fiscal cliff,
it's a positive indication that tech software will be doing
better in the next couple of months," he added.
But Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said the success appeared to
be more specific to IBM than the industry in general.
"The results show that the IBM advantage and business model
- vertical integration of hardware and software - is difficult
to replicate," he said.
IBM has shifted its focus to higher-margin software and
services from tech products over the past decade.
"IBM has been doing this the longest and customers are very
accustomed to it. They have a much stronger offering and brand
IBM shares rose more than 4 percent to $204.36 after closing
at $196.08 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Additional reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York and Alistair
Barr in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang)