IBM Corporate Earnings Face Revenue Decline, to Pressure DJIA

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) reported its corporate earnings for its first quarter. The report came to $3.00 in operating earnings per share and $23.4 billion in revenue. Thomson Reuters had estimates of $3.05 EPS and $24.69 billion in sales. IBM said that sales were down 5% but that would have been only a drop of 3% if adjusted for currency; IBM’s gross profit margin from operations up 1 point to 46.7%. While many will be watching margins and backlog, our biggest concern has been the IBM dividend announcement we were expecting.

IBM maintained that earnings be at least $16.70 per share for all of 2013 per share by the year 2015. IBM said that its services backlog was $141 billion versus $140 billion just one quarter back, and IBM ended the quarter with $12 billion in cash. Big Blue sent $3.5 billion back to shareholders: $900 million in dividends and $2.6 billion in share buybacks.

Just this week we outlined how and why IBM needs to substantially raise its dividend. And on that dividend front, IBM has not yet addressed this. We will be patient, but only a bit on this front because IBM needs to raise its dividend in a serious way to catch up to DJIA tech peers.

Here is a quick breakdown of IBM’s units plus notes on currency adjustments:

  • Software revenue was flat but would be up 1% adjusting for currency;
  • Services revenue was down 4% but would be -1% adjusting for currency;
  • Systems and Technology revenue was down 17%, or -16% adjusting for currency;
  • Growth markets revenue were down 1%, but that would be up by 1% adjusting for currency;
  • Business analytics revenue was up 7%;
  • Smarter Planet revenue was up over 25%;
  • Cloud revenue was up over 70%.

IBM closed down 1.2% at $207.15 and shares are down over 4% after earnings. With this being the biggest DJIA component by far, look for this to pressure the DJIA on Friday morning.

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