IBM’s 4Q profit rises, while consulting sales fall

Computer-services supplier International Business Machines Corp announced that its fourth-quarter profit increased 8.7 per cent to settle at $4.81 billion as compared with $4.43 billion in the year ago period.

Earnings jumped to $3.59-a-share, up from $3.27-a-share in the previous year. Analysts were expecting earnings of $3.47-a-share for the fourth quarter.

Revenues grew by just 0.8 per cent to settle at $27.2 billion.

However, IBM suffered a drop of 2.8 per cent in sales of business services, including consulting, to $4.58 billion.

Speaking about company’s consulting business, Andy Miedler from Edward Jones & Co. said, “This is going to be an area that takes time to rebound a bit. The consulting is the more discretionary part of the business.”

The tech giant said it expects 2010 earnings of at least $11-a-share. The company added that it was confident that it would achieve the high end of its long term goal.

Despite better-than-expected results, shares in IBM slipped 2 per cent to $131.46 in after-hours trading.