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IBM Blows Way Past Street Expectations--Way Past

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Big Blue is looking more like Big Green in after-market trading following the company's blockbuster first quarter earnings report, and the surprise increase in its full year guidance.

IBM blew past Wall Street expectations, reporting $1.65 a share on $24.5 billion in revenue; both categories way above consensus of $1.45 and $23.711 billion respectively. IBM saw strength across the board, beating estimates handily in every major business category, including services, hardware and software.

The company also printed more than $10 billion in bookings, maybe the strongest sign yet that the order pipeline is not slowing down because of any recession worries domestically, or an economic slowdown globally.

In fact, chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano took the unusual step of saying in the press release that "we feel good about the rest of the year." Moments after the company's official release, IBM backed up Palmisano's proclamation by raising full year EPS guidance to $8.50 from the $8.25 IBM announced in February.

That February news raised earlier guidance so this is the second time in as many months that IBM is raising guidance, and represents a 19 percent increase over the EPS the company reported in 2007.

Shares are soaring on this news after an already strong day on Wall Street that saw the company teeter near its 52 week high. That high is now a distant memory in aftermarket, with IBM tacking on big gains. The company's strong financial performance builds on the good news Intel shared with investors on Tuesday, and bodes well for other key players in tech, including Microsoft and Apple, both of whom report earnings next week. Apple shares are soaring aftermarket, along with other key tech heavyweights including Oracle and Cisco .

IBM Reports Earnings

Should be an interesting day for investors on Thursday, who will set their sights next on Google .

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