(By Balachander) International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue and issued an upbeat forecast, sending shares of the information technology (IT) company up 3.09 percent in extended trading.
Operating earnings per share (EPS) increased 14 percent to $5.39 per share, beating market expectations of $5.25.
Net earnings increased 6.3 percent to $5.83 billion for the fourth quarter.
Revenue edged 0.6 percent lower to $29.30 billion, while consensus estimates were for a drop of 1.40 percent.
"Our performance in the fourth quarter.... was driven by our strategic growth initiatives -- growth markets, analytics, cloud computing, Smarter Planet solutions -- which support our continued shift to higher-value businesses," commented CEO Ginni Rometty.
Software revenue rose 3 percent, while Services revenue declined 2 percent. Systems and Technology revenue fell 1 percent.
Gross profit margin expanded to 51.8 percent from 49.9 percent.
Looking ahead for the full year 2013, the company expects operating EPS of at least $16.70, better than consensus estimate of $16.63.
IBM said it is well on track toward its long-term roadmap for operating EPS of at least $20 in 2015.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $180.35 to $211.79, ended at $196.08 on Tuesday.