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IBM gave investors something to cheer about today - Big Blue will not be nationalised any time soon.

The company pre-announced a summary of its third quarter results, which show it has hit targets for the period, and fully expects to continue to do so.

Earnings per share were $2.08 compared to $1.68 for the third quarter of 2007. Net income was $2.8bn, up 20 per cent and revenue growth slowed compared to last quarter to five per cent to $25.3bn. This was helped by three per cent in currency benefits.

For the full year IBM predicted earnings per share of $8.75, an increase of 22 per cent on last year.

Gross margins grew too - from 41.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2007 to 43.3 per cent in this quarter. Pre-tax income was up 19 per cent to $3.9bn.

Sam Palisano, IBM's chairman and CEO, said the results showed the company's strategy worked "in good times and tough times", he said the firm remained confident it would hit targets for the full year.

IBM will announced detailed third quarter results as scheduled on 16 October. ®

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