Is IBM a Buy Near All-Time Highs?

With shares of International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) trading around $206, 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 too good 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.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart are Strong

IBM stock has been on a monster surge higher over the last few years. The stock has been in a consolidation for about a year now and may be setting up to move higher. 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 slightly above its rising key averages which signal neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

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

20.77%

93%

90%

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

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

July Options

Steep

Average

August Options

Steep

Average

As of today, there is an average demand from call buyers or sellers and high demand by put buyers or low demand by put sellers, all neutral to bearish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a very significant amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bearish over the next two months.

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

E = Earnings Are Mixed Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on IBM’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for IBM look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

2012 Q3

2012 Q2

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

3.45%

11.15%

4.39%

11.33%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

-5.11%

-0.64%

-5.39%

-3.34%

Earnings Reaction

-8.27%

4.4%

-4.91%

3.76%

IBM has seen increasing earnings and and decreasing revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these figures, the markets have been mixed about IBM’s recent earnings announcements.

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

P = Poor Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has IBM stock done relative to its peers, Accenture (NYSE:ACN), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and sector?

IBM

Accenture

Hewlett-Packard

Microsoft

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

7.54%

21.97%

72.70%

30.93%

22.89%

IBM has been a relative poor performer, year-to-date.

Conclusion

IBM is a technology company that provides valuable and essential products and services to consumers and companies around the world. The stock has been on a strong run extending back several years but has been in consolidation as of late. Over the last four quarters, earnings have been increasing while revenue figures have been decreasing, overall producing mixed feelings among investors. Relative to its peers and sector, IBM has been a poor year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what IBM does in coming quarters.

Using a solid investing framework such as this can help improve your stock-picking skills. Don’t waste another minute — click here and get our CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.

More from The Cheat Sheet