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IBM's fourth quarter well above targets

IBM was so happy with its fourth quarter results that it couldn't wait three days to report them.On Monday, IBM (all resources) released its preliminary fourth quarter results.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

IBM was so happy with its fourth quarter results that it couldn't wait three days to report them.

On Monday, IBM (all resources) released its preliminary fourth quarter results. The company is expected to release its official results on Thursday.

Big Blue said it expects earnings of $2.80 a share from continuing operations for the quarter ended Dec. 31 on revenue of $28.9 billion. Wall Street was expecting earnings of $2.60 for the fourth quarter on revenue of $27.8 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

In a statement, IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano credited performance in Asia, Europe and emerging markets for the results.

Compared to the fourth quarter a year ago, IBM's earnings are up 24 cents from a year ago with revenue up 10 percent. For 2007, IBM reported earnings of $7.18 a share, including a gain from the sale of its printing systems division, and revenue of $98.8 billion, up 8 percent from 2006.

For the quarter, IBM got six percentage points of growth from the weak dollar. For the year, the weak dollar gave IBM 4 percentage points of growth. The company ended the year with $16 billion in cash.

While IBM shares surged on the news, the biggest--and most important item--was omitted: The outlook. Aside from IBM saying it is "well positioned" for 2008 color about U.S. enterprise demand wasn't mentioned. But that's what earnings conference calls are for. The company reports earnings and guidance on Thursday.

Wall Street is expecting IBM to report $1.40 a share in earnings for the first quarter with revenue of $23.1 billion. For 2008, IBM is expected to report earnings of $7.91 a share on revenue of $101.8 billion.

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