Most of the coverage of IBM's
I'm not going to do that. Instead, I want to point you to some numbers from the report that others are ignoring:
- Total debt fell 23%, to $26.1 billion.
- Debt unrelated to financing customer purchases fell 61%, to $3.7 billion.
It's because of aggressive debt payoffs that interest expense fell $111 million, or 57%. And that's why IBM earned 10% more in per-share net income in Q4, even in the face of 1% revenue growth. Debt reduction accounted for almost 29% of IBM's earnings gain.
Numbers like these have absolutely zero to do with a forthcoming tech rally, but they are indicators of competent management looking to position the business for the long term.
Revenue growth could return sooner rather than later. IBM said services contract signings improved 9% to $18.8 billion, and included 22 deals worth at least $100 million.
What's more, Big Blue's software division -- where it competes with the likes of Hewlett-Packard
In the race to recover from a down economy, you might say IBM is a marathon runner. A sexy, slimmed-down beast that keeps getting in better shape.
But that's my take. Now it's your turn to weigh in. Is IBM worth buying at today's prices? Make your voice heard using the comments box below.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of IBM and Oracle at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Oracle and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy will move the laundry to the dryer after you finish reading, but please, take your time.