Does IBM Have a Bright Future?

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With shares of International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) trading around $184, is IBM an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework.

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

IBM is an information technology company. The company operates in five segments: Global Technology Services, Global Business Services, Software, Systems and Technology, and Global Financing. Technology products and services are in high demand worldwide, as consumers want to be up to speed and companies always need the latest and greatest to stay ahead of the competition. Cloud computing has been hot in recent times, which has not been good news for IBM. Should the company want to hold on to its market share, it needs to make moves quickly and provide the technology products and services that worldwide consumers and companies demand.

IBM’s employee count dropped for the first time in a decade as the world’s biggest computer-services company reined in costs to help meet profit goals. IBM had 431,212 employees at the end of 2013, down 0.7 percent from a year earlier, according to a filing. The company spent $1 billion last year to restructure its workforce and plans to do the same this quarter.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Mixed

IBM stock has struggled to make significant progress in the last several years. The stock is currently trading sideways and may need time to stabilize. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, IBM is trading between its rising key averages, which signals neutral price action in the near-term.

IBM

Source: Thinkorswim

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of IBM options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

IBM options

17.03%

36%

33%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a minimal amount of call and put options contracts as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

March Options

Average

Average

April Options

Average

Average

As of Wednesday, there is average demand from call and put buyers or sellers, all neutral over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a minimal amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

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