IBM Rising: This is the Turnaround, Bulls Cheer; Bears Question EPS
Shares of International Business Machines (IBM) are up $3.01, or 1.8%, at $169.83, recovering from last night's after-hours losses, after the company beat Q4 revenue and profit expectations, and forecast this year's profit higher as well. Although last
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By Tiernan Ray Shares of International Business Machines ( IBM ) are up $3. 01, or 1. 8%, at $169. 83, recovering from last night’s after-hours losses , after the company beat Q4 revenue and profit expectations, and forecast this year’s profit... Although last night’s dip after the report was attributed to earnings quality questions — a high amount of “IP” revenue — the bulls today emphasize that the “ turnaround ” is in effect. One bearish voice, Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital , who last night called attention to the questionable quality, in his view, of the company’s profit beat, today was sounding more conciliatory. In a note to clients, Daryanani, who has a Sector Perform rating on the shares, and a $170 price target, this morning asked “could this be the turn. David Grossman, Stifel Nicolaus : Reiterates a Buy rating and a $192 price target. “There was considerable focus on last night’s call relative to the margin improvement implied in 2017 guidance. This is nothing new and the same factors driving margin improvement in 4Q should continue in 2017 including mix, 2016 rebalancing benefits ($1. 5bn gross) and lower 2017 rebalancing charges […] We continue to view 2017 as an impor tant transition... Brian White, Drexel Hamilton : Reiterates a BUy rating, and a $186 price target. “Stand Too Close to the Trees and the IBM Turnaround Will be Missed […] Although we are lowering our 2017 EPS estimate (we were well above the Street), we believe the worst is over for IBM with the sales cycle (and operating profit cycle) having... Cloud was the highlight of the quarter with as-a-service growth of 63% Y/Y (similar to 65% in Sept) and margins expanding for the first time. Constant currency revenue decline of 0. 7% improved from a 1. 1% decline in September despite less acquisition benefit and a higher mix of declining transactional revenue (Exhibit 3). However, Cognitive Solutions failed to accelerate (though... Net, lower tax rate saved the quarter, contributing $0. 31 to EPS compared to a $0. 12 beat versus consensus. Keith Bachman, BMO Capital : Reiterates a Market Perform rating, but raise his price target to $170 from $165. “We thought IBM had a very mixed Dec Q, with weak margins being offset by higher royalty income and a lower tax rate. Nevertheless, we are encouraged by the comments around PTI growth (off easy comparisons in Q1), and strategic revenues reaching 44% of the total in the Dec Q, which suggests reaching 50% of revenues sometime in 2018, depending on M&A cadence [. ]... “We believe the underlying quality of IBM earnings – both in terms of revenue mix and core margin – remains low […] The bright spot in IBM’s results remains Tech Services & Cloud, where our checks continue to suggest favorable trends. However, we believe the significant gross margin deterioration across the business suggests that IBM will need to continue reinvesting to stabilize revenue. Mark Moskowitz, Barclays : Reiterates an Underweight rating, and raises his price target to $144 from $135. “We believe the underlying quality of IBM earnings – both in terms of revenue mix and core margin – remains low. Software growth remains pressured by transactional weakness, and GBS continues to see headwinds from pricing and execution issues. The bright spot in IBM’s results remains Tech Services & Cloud, where our checks continue to suggest.
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