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Analysts Say IBM on Track for Strong Quarter
Jun 17, 2004
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Robust sales of servers and notebook PCs should carry IBM to a strong second-quarter financial performance, according to an equity analyst's report issued Tuesday.

John Jones of Schwab Soundview Capital Markets says IBM's server sales will increase 17 percent year-over-year in the 3 months ending June 30, while notebook sales will jump 35 percent.

As a result, Mr. Jones is raising his projection for IBM's second-quarter revenue. He now expects the company's sales in the period to total $23.7 billion, up U.S. $100 million from his original estimate. On average, Wall Street analysts surveyed by First Call expect IBM to produce $23.4 billion in second-quarter sales. In the second quarter of 2003, IBM recorded revenue of $21.6 billion.

Mr. Jones predicts IBM's second-quarter per-share earnings will come in at $1.14, compared with the average Wall Street forecast of $1.12. IBM posted per-share earnings of $0.98 in the year-ago period. IBM's weak spot, Mr. Jones says, remains high-end storage. He says that specialist storage vendor EMC Corp. is gaining share against IBM at the high end of the market.

Many analysts believe IBM's strength is due in part to the success of its e-Business On Demand program under which, among other things, businesses buy technology from the company on a pay-as-you-go basis. IBM is also benefiting from a broad recovery in IT spending. Research firm Gartner says U.S. corporate IT spending will increase 10 percent in 2004.

IBM is expected to disclose its second quarter earnings on July 12. Schwab Soundview provides investment banking services for IBM.

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