Two days ago (says StreetInsider.com) -- or maybe it was only yesterday (says TheFly.com) -- analysts at Edward Jones upgraded shares of IBM (IBM 1.38%) from "hold" to "buy." Whenever the upgrade actually happened, details on what it contained only began filtering out this morning -- and it seems investors really like reading those details.
After rising 1.8% on Monday, and a further 1.9% on Tuesday, IBM shares were shooting ahead a full 5% as of 1 p.m. EST today.
So what are the details on this one? As TheFly reports, Edward Jones' upgrade is based primarily on the fact that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is stepping down as CEO and Arvind Krishna is stepping up to take her place.
Curiously, these are the exact same details that sparked a 5% rally in IBM stock last week, which may not say much about investors' attention spans. Granted, Edward Jones also added that this change in management is a "positive catalyst" for the stock -- but anyone who's paid attention as IBM stock lost 22% of its market cap during Rometty's tenure could have told you that.
If there's one bit of information in this upgrade that may be worth paying more attention to, it's Edward Jones' observation that IBM shares look attractively valued -- but even here, I fear I must quibble.
Objectively speaking, IBM's price-to-earnings ratio of 14.8 may make it look like something of a value stock (and IBM's fat 4.5% dividend yield certainly makes it a viable candidate for a good dividend stock). Yet most analysts still think IBM will only grow its earnings at about 6.4% annually over the next five years. Whatever Edward Jones may believe, the idea of paying a double-digit multiple for single-digit growth still doesn't look like a very good way to make money.
To become a real "buy," IBM simply must grow faster.