IBM Earnings Trigger PT Increases But Investors Unmoved

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International Business Machines Corp.(NYSE:IBM) posted a solid beat last night, but today investors seem unimpressed. However, analysts from several firms have increased their price targets for IBM as growth has returned to the tech giant.


IBM beats revenue estimates again

Cantor Fitzgerald analysts Joseph Foresi significantly increased his price target for IBM, pushing it from $135 to $162 per share, although he maintained his Hold rating following last night’s report. He noted that the second quarter was the second consecutive quarter in which the company beat estimates for revenue.

He said the growth in Strategic Imperative revenue was “healthy” and as expected. Additionally, the segment wasn’t as much of a headwind as it has been in recent quarters. He added that although IBM’s core business kept declining in the double digits, that decline was a bit less than it was in previous quarter. The company posted $20.24 billion in revenue, beating the consensus of $20.6 billion. Earnings amounted to $2.95 per share, beating the consensus of $2.88.

He believes that if IBM can maintain its margins through its return to growth, it would be a big positive.

A “clean beat” for IBM

JPMorgan analyst Tien-tsin Huang and team called the second quarter a “clean beat” for it, adding that the path toward achieving management’s full-year guidance is now clearer compared to where it was at the same time last quarter. They also noted that an important factor is IBM’s recognition of transactional software in the fourth quarter.

They explained that acquisitions are helping the company grow its revenue. Additionally, they increased their price target for IBM from $159 to $165 per share but maintained their Neutral rating on the stock. They remain patient as the company strives toward recovering revenue growth and are taking as “wait-and-see approach” on fourth quarter transactional sales.

Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White bumped up his price target from $166 to $186 per share and maintained his Buy rating.

Bear raises IBM price target too

Societe Generale analyst Richard Nguyen continues to rate IBM as a Sell after last night’s earnings report, but he raised his target price from $115 to $130 per share. He believes the company’s earnings growth trajectory is still at risk because of “its current transformation.”

He was encouraged by the revenue beat in particular, but he’s still cautious on IBM. For one thing, he noted that the second quarter was the seventeenth consecutive quarter in which the company posted a decline in revenues. While the Strategic Imperatives business is still a key focal point as it is still performing well, its growth is decelerating. Further, the legacy business is still being pressured.

He’s also concerned about the acquisitions the company has made, as it has acquired about 20 companies in the last 12 months. He said while this mitigates the “relentless downward trend in sales,” it might become difficult for the company to find more targets that could move the needle in terms of top-line growth. Additionally, he said all of the acquisitions are diluting IBM’s margins.

Further, while Brexit didn’t really impact the second quarter, management highlighted it as a potential headwind for the second half of the year and especially for the fourth quarter.

Shares of IBM declined by as much as 0.27% to $159.41 during regular trading hours on Tuesday.

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