IBM Shares Rise on Q4 Results, Strong Forecast

International business Machines Corp. (IBM) reported fourth quarter earnings of $4.18 per share on $29 billion in revenue, easily topping Wall Street’s expectations. The IT behemoth also gave 2011 guidance above current estimates, sending shares up more than 2% in late trading.

Analysts were expecting a profit of $4.08 per share and sales of $28.26 billion. Net income of $5.3 billion was a 9% improvement over last year’s Q4 figure, while revenue rose 7%. For the year, IBM’s profit was up 10% while revenue was up 3% after currency adjustments. Diluted earnings per share were up 15% for the year, giving the company its eighth straight year of double-digit EPS growth.

For 2011, IBM expects adjusted earnings of at least $13.00 per share, well ahead of the current analyst consensus of $12.58 per share.

Shares of IBM rose as high as $155 (+2.89%) immediately following the announcement, where they carry a 1.68% dividend yield.

IBM has raised its dividend for 15 consecutive years, and will likely make it 16 sometime in late April, which is when the company traditionally raises its dividend. Last year the company boosted its payout by a little more than 18%.

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