IBM shares up a day after strong Q4 earnings report

Quarterly, annual results show solid revenue growth across Big Blue's divisions

Shares of IBM (NYSE: IBM) were up nearly 3 percent in midday trading on Wednesday after Big Blue reported a 9 percent increase in net income for its fiscal fourth quarter. (Also see: IBM Q4 net income rises 9 percent) IBM shares were trading at 155.12 around 12:30 p.m., a gain of 4.47, or 2.97 percent, over Tuesday's closing price of 150.65. Earlier in the day, shares reaches 155.80, an all-time high. Following Tuesday's market close, Big Blue reported Q4 net income of $5.3 billion on revenue of $29 billion, gains of 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively, over the previous year's fourth quarter. For the entire fiscal year, IBM reported net profits of $14.8 billion and revenue of $99.9 billion, up 10 percent and 4 percent, respectively, over 2009. (I hope no one had an annual bonus clause that would have kicked in if sales had hit $100 billion. Talk about painful.) IDG News Service has a performance breakdown for IBM's various divisions (see link above), which shows strong growth across the board, with two exceptions -- Lotus software sales, which dropped 3 percent in Q4, and global technology services, which grew only 1 percent to $10.2 billion. In a conference call Tuesday afternoon, IBM Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge said he expects service revenue growth to accelerate this quarter. Through Tuesday's close, IBM shares were up 22.7 percent since last Aug. 26.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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