Is IBM as a Value Stock Really Just a Value Trap?

Print Email

In case you haven’t been paying attention lately, value stocks are starting to get some interest again. In fact, the dog of all technology value stock dogs named International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is even getting interest this week. With IBM having a weighting of about 7.65% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, this is one of the components adding to the market.

On what feels like no real news, IBM shares have quietly risen from $185 to almost $195 in less than a week. The stock was touted on Monday by CNBC’s Jim Cramer, who again defended IBM on Tuesday’s Mad Money. Warren Buffett, via Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A), is the largest shareholder, with a 6.54% stake that is currently worth some $13.5 billion.

We reached out to the managers of the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF (NYSEMKT: HDGE) to see if they were still short IBM and were still against the company. Brad Lamensdorf and John Delvecchio said that IBM still gets an F on the exchange traded fund’s earnings quality model. The items they pointed out were:

Weakening cash flow, missing revenue estimates quarter after quarter, China has been a disaster, as has the hardware business, won’t make their 2015 plan set out a few years ago, absent creative tax management would miss earnings by a mile each quarter.

IBM trades at 11 times expected 2014 earnings, and just under 10 times that goal of “at least $20 in earnings per share by 2015.” The problem is that no one expects any revenue growth at all. IBM is making these earnings numbers simply through cost cutting and stock buybacks. IBM may even face a decade of no growth.

All that seems to be happening is that investors are chasing value and some of the big cap stocks that have gone on sale. The same thing of deep value buying was noticed last week in AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). What is different about AT&T versus IBM, outside of its industry, is that AT&T yields way more than 5%, compared to only about 2% for IBM.

Shares closed at $195.04 on Tuesday, against a 52-week range of $172.19 to $214.89. The Thomson Reuters consensus price target is slightly lower at $192.50. IBM is a value stock in the classic sense of the term. That is undeniable, but it also seems that IBM may just be a value trap as well.

RSS Facebook Twitter