IBM Stumbles on Mixed Earnings

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International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) reported first quarter earnings results after markets closed on Tuesday. The company said that it had $2.38 in earnings per share (EPS) and $18.2 billion in revenue, versus consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $2.35 in EPS and $18.39 billion in revenue. The same period from last year had $2.35 in EPS and $18.68 billion in revenue.

Revenues from strategic imperatives totaled $7.8 billion in the quarter, up 12% year over year (up 13% adjusting for currency exchange effects). At the same time, strategic imperatives revenue was $33.6 billion over the last 12 months representing roughly 42% of IBM revenue.

Cloud revenue totaled $14.6 billion over the last 12 months. Cloud-as-a-Service annual exit run rate rose to $8.6 billion in the quarter, up 59% from last year (up 61% adjusting for currency).

IBM reported its segment revenues as:

  • Cognitive Solutions revenues were up 2.1% at $4.1 billion (up 2.8% adjusting for currency). This was driven by growth in analytics and security, which include Watson-related offerings.
  • Global Business Services revenues were down 3% at $4.0 billion (down 1.9% adjusting for currency). As we noted earlier, strategic imperatives grew double digits led by the cloud and mobile practices.
  • Technology Services & Cloud Platforms revenue fell 2.5% to $8.2 billion (down 2.0% adjusting for currency).
  • Systems revenues totaled $1.4 billion, down 16.8% (down 16.1% adjusting for currency).
  • Global Financing revenues were $405 million, down 1.2% (down 2.1% adjusting for currency).

In terms of guidance, the company expects 2017 EPS to be at least $13.80, basically maintaining its outlook for the 2017 full year. Analysts put their consensus estimates around $13.78 in EPS and $78.66 billion in revenue for 2017.

On the books, cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaled $10.7 billion at the end of the quarter, versus $8.5 billion at the end of December 2016.

Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO, commented:

In the first quarter, both the IBM Cloud and our cognitive solutions again grew strongly, which fueled robust performance in our strategic imperatives. In addition, we are developing and bringing to market emerging technologies such as blockchain and quantum, revolutionizing how enterprises will tackle complex business problems in the years ahead.

Shares of Big Blue closed Tuesday down 0.6% at $170.05, with a consensus analyst price target of $168.15 and a 52-week trading range of $142.50 to $182.79. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was down 4% at $163.35 in the after-hours trading session.