What Analysts Are Saying About IBM After Earnings

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International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) reported its most recent quarterly results after the markets closed on Thursday and analysts are taking the opportunity to weigh in on the stock. Although IBM broke its 22 consecutive quarter streak for declining year over year revenue, investors still sent the stock lower.

Some quick highlights: the company posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $5.18 on revenues of $22.54 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $5.01 on revenues of $21.77 billion. The quarterly results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $5.17 and $22.05 billion in revenues.

While the results beat expectations, this was not enough for investors.

Wedbush maintained its Neutral rating with a $185 price target. The firm had this to say in its report:

Maintain NEUTRAL rating post-low quality earnings beat, as the company’s large legacy exposure continues to cannibalize revenue growth while compressing margins. Bottom line, IBM remains in a “work-in-progress” mode, as it continues to convert its revenue base away from an asset/labor-intensive legacy model into asset/labor-light “digital” solutions.

Separately, Merrill Lynch reiterated a Buy rating with a $200 price objective. Merrill Lynch’s Wamsi Mohan commented:

The firm sees IBM as a defensive investment given its high exposure to recurring sales and with a solid balance sheet, and it believes IBM will embark on further cost cutting (as reported earlier in 2018). The firm said: IBM reported 4Q that was worse operationally but new CFO James Kavanaugh struck a positive tone for 2018 with a backdrop of strong Systems (Mainframe and Power cycles), improving consulting, and stabilizing technology services revenues. With FX contributing 2-3% tailwind for F18, IBM should post positive revenue growth on a reported basis (leverage drives margin improvement) and we model a 1% decline in constant currency. EPS guide of $13.80 includes discrete tax items (offset by restructuring charges, we model $250mn). FCF of $12bn is better than our expectation of $11bn.

Pivotal Research maintained its Buy rating with a $180 price target. The firm detailed in its report:

This quarter there was no help from acquisitions which wrapped earlier in the year. For guidance, revenue is suggested to grow in 2018, even before the 200-300bp help from FX. However, given the changes in the tax law IBM sees EPS exactly flat YY at $13.80. One issue is that the operating tax rate will be 16% +/- 200bp, vs operating rate of 12% in 2017, but the printed 2017 tax rate was ~7%. FCF likely down $1b YY to $12b, due to higher cap ex (cap ex was $3.3b, we estimated ~$3b), the higher expected cash taxes and aggressive 4Q17 accounts receivable collection which aided FY17. Our prior EPS for 2018/2019 moves to $13.90/$14.50 from $14.25/$14.65.

A few other firms weighed in as well:

  • RBC lowered its price target to $180 from $183.
  • Deutsche Bank raised its price target to $160 from $150.
  • CFRA maintained its Buy rating with a $175 price target.

Shares of IBM traded down 3.8% to $162.77 Friday morning, with a consensus analyst price target of $168.45 and a 52-week range of $139.13 to $182.79.