IBM Blows the Street Away

After Intel's big beat earlier in the week, the pressure was on IBM to beat, and beat big, and the company answered. Big.

So big, in fact, that the $2.32 the company reported, beating the Street by 30 cents, was the biggest beat in IBM's history!

The company also reported $3.1 billion in net income, up 12 percent; the gross margin of 45.5 percent means IBM has increased margins in 19 of the past 20 quarters.

Some other color: IBM closed 17 Services deals on the quarter north of $100 million each so if there's a concern out there of an IT or enterprise spending slowdown, it doesn't appear that IBM is necessarily feeling the pain. Sure, revenue was $23.25 billion, which was a little below the Street consensus of $23.58 billion, but the company's ability to translate topline to increased bottom line continues to impress.

Better still for investors, and something that should resonate through all of tech tomorrow: IBM raised full year EPS guidance to $9.70 from the $9.20 it anticipated a quarter ago.

Mike Holland at Holland & Co. says, "Big Blue blockbuster. I expected good numbers. I was shocked by how good these were."

He called the full-year EPS guidance "incredible," adding "I have never seen anything like that in the years I have been following IBM. In an unpleasant economic and financial world, these are incredible results."

From Peter Misek at Canaccord Adams: "These are very impressive on cost containment, on margins, on signings. It should alleviate a lot people's concerns."

And from Keith Wirtz at Fifth Third Asset Management: "At first blush, this is all good news."

Good news indeed.

Update:An earlier posting misstated a figure in these results. The correction has been made.

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