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IBM earnings: $3.84 per share, vs expected EPS of $3.78

IBM reported quarterly earnings Monday that beat estimates but revenue that fell short of expectations, as currency and a declining legacy business dampened growth in key ventures like cloud computing.

Shares fell about 4 percent in extended trading after the technology company posted second-quarter adjusted profit of $3.84 per share on $20.81 billion in sales. Those were both down 13 percent from the prior-year period.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $3.78 a share on $20.95 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

IBM's crucial "strategic imperatives"—made up of cloud computing and analytics—saw revenue growth of about 20 percent. A cloud sales increase of 50 percent boosted the segment.

"We expanded margins, continued to innovate across our portfolio and delivered strong growth in our strategic imperatives of cloud, analytics and engagement, which are becoming a significant part of our business," said Ginni Rometty, IBM's president and CEO, in a statement.

A sign for International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) stands outside offices at the Moscow International Business Center.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A sign for International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) stands outside offices at the Moscow International Business Center.

The company noted that a stronger U.S. dollar held back performance, as total revenue dropped only 1 percent year over year adjusted for currency and the divested System x business. Strategic imperatives growth also topped 30 percent adjusted for exchange rates and divestment, IBM said.

"I think the challenge for the company is can they grow these strategic imperatives faster than the rest of the company is declining," said David Nelson, chief strategist at Belpointe Asset Management, in an interview Monday with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

IBM's software and systems hardware businesses both saw revenue decline from the year-earlier period. Software revenue fell 10 percent.

Systems hardware sales plummeted 32 percent year over year to $2.1 billion in the quarter, but rose 5 percent adjusted for currency and divested businesses.

"It's an old-school tech business that's trying to become new school. But it's got a great balance sheet, good management," said Michael Farr, president of Farr, Miller & Washington and a CNBC contributor.

IBM maintained its operating non-GAAP earnings per share outlook of $15.75 to $16.50 for the year. It also projected a "modest increase" in free cash flow year over year.

Earlier this month, the company said it achieved a breakthrough in shrinking computer chips, creating working versions of ultradense semiconductors.

The chip is the industry's first with transistors that are just 7 nanometers. Today's servers are powered by microprocessors that use 22-nanometer or 14-nanometer node chips.

The achievement is part of a wider effort announced last year to invest $3 billion over five years in research and development. IBM called the technology crucial to meeting the demands of future cloud computing, big data systems and mobile products.

Correction: Ginni Rometty is IBM's president and CEO. An earlier version misspelled her first name.

—Reuters contributed to this report.