IBM Reports "Strong" First Quarter

Paul Lilly

IBM on Monday posted better than expected earnings and sales numbers along with double digit revenue growth. Diluted earnings of $1.70 per share in the first quarter represented a 16 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009.

"In the first quarter, we drove significantly improved revenue growth rates from the fourth quarter across our businesses and geographies. We had strong results in strategic investment areas including growth markets, business analytics and Smarter Planet solutions," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"Looking ahead, we are confident in our ability to grow revenue, and given our mix of higher-value business and productivity we will expand margins, grow profit, cash and EPS, and increase returns to shareholders. Thus, we expect full-year 2010 diluted earnings per share of at least $11.20."

IBM said it ended the quarter with $14 billion of cash on hand and generated free cash flow of $1.4 billion, up about $400 million from one year ago. In other words, life is good at IBM.

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