IBM Stock: Can Big Blue Beat Earnings This Week?

As it attempts to quell concerns over its seemingly stagnating revenue base, shares of IT "elephant" IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) have hung around breakeven so far in 2014, even as shares of other enterprise turnaround plays like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) have soared.

IBM Chart

IBM data by YCharts.

IBM reports its Q2 earnings next week, and it appears investors are largely expecting more of the same from Big Blue.

IBM earnings: Can elephants still dance?
On average, analysts are calling for IBM to still be caught in the midst of the same slow-bleed revenue stagnation that's perhaps been the primary driver of its shares during the past several quarters. True to form, they also expect IBM's top-line woes to weigh on IBM's storied track records of bottom-line growth.

However, since this report will mark the halfway point before 2015, expect analysts to also shift their focus further out, and begin to asses whether it seems plausible that IBM will actually be able to hit its long-stated goal of $20.00 of operating EPS in the upcoming fiscal year.

And while IBM hitting its $20.00 OEPS metric certainly will matter to long-term investors, it's also hard to ignore that, like IT compatriot Hewlett-Packard, IBM remains dirt cheap. Investors (myself included) largely shunned Hewlett-Packard in late 2012 as it struggled to come to grips with the changing PC landscape, only to see its shares skyrocket since (and provide a useful lesson in long-term thinking). As tech and telecom specialist Andrew Tonner discusses in the video below, IBM's shares could also prove attractive today for investors willing to look past its current problems.

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