IBM to Be Laggard Among DJIA Companies in 2015, Again

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Based on numbers as of December 18, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) will once again this year be among the Dow Jones Industrial Average companies that disappoints investors. While the index is off nearly 2% year to date, IBM’s stock is down 14.8% for the same period. It is a sign of how few investors believe in the tech company’s turnaround efforts.

The ongoing, huge flood of public relations announcements, posted at the rate of several times on some days, are mostly tiny deals, or advances in IBM technology that are not important to the rest of the world. Very recent announcements prove the point that IBM does not have anything critical to disclose about its products or financial performance:

17 Dec 2015: AT&T and IBM Expand Their Strategic Relationship in Managed Application and Managed Hosting Services
17 Dec 2015: Linux Foundation Unites Industry Leaders to Advance Blockchain Technology
16 Dec 2015: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Partners with IBM to Launch Innovative Digital Studio
16 Dec 2015: IBM Releases 100th IBM MobileFirst for iOS App in Partnership with Apple to Transform the Nature of Work
16 Dec 2015: Vodafone Netherlands Teams With IBM to Help Enterprise Clients Go Mobile

Linux, Abu Dhabi and the nature of work.

The flagship of IBM’s marketing effort is Watson, which has been the subject of a series of television commercials. IBM has little of substance to say about Watson either:

IBM and its clients are ushering in a new cognitive era. IBM Watson IoT extends the power of cognitive computing to the billions of connected devices, sensors and systems that comprise the IoT. Why? Because IoT is testing the limits of programmable computing, and Cognitive IoT is how we will overcome those limits. It is how we will accomplish the transformational outcomes we know are both possible and necessary—from operational efficiency to customer experience to industry disruption.

Every major tech company in the world is chasing sales success in the Internet of Things market. IBM apparently does not have anything meaningful to say about its progress.

For the time being, Wall Street remembers two things about IBM, both announced when it posted its third-quarter results:

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced third-quarter 2015 diluted earnings from continuing operations of $3.02 per share, down 13 percent year-to-year. Operating (non-GAAP) diluted earnings from continuing operations were $3.34 per share, compared with operating diluted earnings of $3.68 per share in the third quarter of 2014, a decrease of 9 percent.

Also, this disappointment:

IBM expects full-year 2015 GAAP diluted earnings per share of $13.25 to $14.25, and operating (non-GAAP) diluted earnings per share of $14.75 to $15.75. IBM expects free cash flow to be relatively flat year-to-year. The 2015 operating (non-GAAP) earnings expectation excludes $1.50 per share of charges for amortization of purchased intangible assets, other acquisition-related charges and retirement-related charges.

Another good reason IBM shares will be among the worst performers of the Dow components again in 2015.