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IBM First Quarter Excites Stock Market

Blue chip technology leader IBM (IBM) excited the US stock trading markets with an exciting first quarter earnings report. First quarter profits jumped a remarkable 26% for the Armonk, New York based company. It also blew away analyst estimates for the quarter, which is always a motivator for trading portfolio additions.

For it fiscal first quarter, IBM reported earnings of $2.32 billion, which amounts to $1.65 per share. During its first quarter in 2007, the company netted a profit of $1.84 billion, or $1.21 per share. This was a significant boost for the bell weather in the midst of a generally floundering US economy. IBM has long been a staple of many long-term stock trading strategies based on its consistency and income performance.

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Revenue was a strong driver for the company, as it increased 11 percent for the quarter. The $24.5 billion in revenue also strongly outpaced analyst expectations of $23.7 billion. Analysts had also expected $1.45, which means the company topped its expectation by 20 cents.

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After exciting the market during the day because of high expectations, IBM really gained a boost after hours. The IBM share price rose just under three percent during regular hours, and another 3% in after hours trading, for a total boost just under 6% on the day. Needless to say, the earnings report gave the stock help.

The earnings report also gave the stock market help as it was up big while waiting for the anticipated good news. IBM credited a significant portion of its revenue gain to benefits from the weak dollar. It said converting foreign sales with stronger currencies translated into more dollars. In fact, the company said its revenue growth would have been closer to four percent without the currency effect.

IBM also credited its services and software business components for driving revenue. Surprisingly, US sales jumped 6%, in spite of the economic turmoil. This inspired many traders to add the stock to their personal stock portfolio.

IBM provides a great long-term stock trading strategy partly because of its strong dividend payout. The current annual dividend is $1.60. This amounts to a 40 cent per share quarterly dividend. For many stock investing strategies, the solid income makes for a very safe investment. Covered call strategies and covered call funds may increase in interest for the near term following the earnings spike. IBM is currently about $123, with a one year target price around $127. This suggests it might see a flat period for a bit.

The after hours move following the earnings actually pushed IBM passed its current 52-week high. This means it will be at a new one year high. The stock has traded somewhat high over the course of the year, with a low of $93.91 during the year. Given the volatility in stocks over the last year, this is remarkable stability for such a key player in the equities market.

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[tags] IBM, Intl. Business Machines, covered call funds, covered call strategies, investing in stock options, investing strategies, personal stock portfolio, poweroptions, stock help, stock investing, stock market help, stock market investment strategies, stock options, stock trading [/tags]

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