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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