Did IBM Weather the Tough Economy?

International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) posted bottom and top line results for the fourth quarter that were better than analysts expected, showing that the blue-chip company had the ability to weather sluggish technology spending.

For the three-month period, IBM reported earnings of $5.8 billion, or $5.13 per share, on revenue of $29.3 billion. While revenue fell 1 percent from the year-ago quarter, the drop was predicted to be steeper. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of $5.25 per share on revenue of $29.08 billion.

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In the third quarter, IBM posted a 5 percent year-over-year decline, and that same trend was expected to continue as economies in Europe and the United States remain slow. But full-year results came in higher than the previous year’s financials; net income increased 5 percent to $16.6 billion and operating net income grew 8 percent to $17.6 billion.

The technology services company beat both earnings and revenue estimates thanks in part to growth in emerging markets, with revenue in Brazil, India, Russia, and China increasing by 7 percent in 2012.

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