IBM earned $3bn in Q4

Analysts show restraint

IBM has posted its best ever fourth quarter results, reporting profits of $3bn for the period. The company said revenues had risen seven per cent on the same period last year to $27.7bn, boosted slightly by the weak dollar.

The company also announced total revenue for 2004 of $96.5bn, and said that 2005 would see that figure rise to $102bn.

Mark Loughridge, Big Blue's CFO, said that the market trend streamlining supplier bases had seen many corporations looking for one company to provide hardware, software and support packages. This, he said, has boosted IBM's performance.

Analysts had no trouble containing their praise, describing it as a "fairly matter-of-fact quarter" for the company. An analyst for Sanford C Bernstein & Co. told The New York Times: "It kind of speaks to IBM's strength and size."

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs put a "buy" rating on IBM's stock, saying that the company had got a lot of things right in 2004. Selling off its loss-making PC division is almost certainly one of them. All told, IBM is handing Lenovo a business with nearly $1bn in losses in recent years.

Shares rose slightly on the news, gaining 80 cents for the day to close at $94.90 per share.

The full earnings release can be found here. ®

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