Will IBM See a Higher Bid?

With shares of International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) trading around $186, 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.

Recently, IBM reported earnings that topped analyst expectations. Also, the company announced it is furloughing the majority of its U.S. hardware employees, forcing them to work one week with reduced pay as the company tries to shed costs amidst slumping demand. Sales in the second quarter dropped 12 percent from last year while the company cut around 3,300 employees across North America.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Mixed

IBM stock has not been moving much in the last several quarters. The stock is now trading near lows for the year. 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 below its key averages which signal neutral to bearish 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

20.21%

76%

75%

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

October Options

Steep

Average

November 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 Q2

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

2012 Q3

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

11.40%

3.45%

11.15%

4.39%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

-3.33%

-5.11%

-0.64%

-5.39%

Earnings Reaction

1.76%

-8.27%

4.40%

-4.91%

IBM has seen rising earnings and declining revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have had mixed feelings with IBM’s recent earnings announcements.

P = Weak Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has IBM stock done relative to its peers HP (NYSE:HPQ), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and sector?

IBM

HP

Dell

Microsoft

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

-2.39%

56.07%

36.54%

20.74%

23.39%

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

Conclusion

IBM is a global technology company that provides essential products and services to companies and consumers worldwide. The company is currently undergoing some measures in order to improve the company. The stock has not done well in recent quarters and is now trading near lows for the year. Over the last four quarters, earnings have been rising while revenues have been declining which has not really pleased investors in the company. Relative to its peers and sector, IBM has been a weak year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what IBM does in coming quarters.

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