Big Blue Shows Investors the Green

IBM posted quarterly earnings late Monday that were well above Wall Street expectations, but the company’s sales came in shy of forecasts.

IBM’s pro forma earnings of $1.26 a share were 13 cents better than expected, but sales of $21.53 billion were below $21.71 billion estimates. Excluded IBM’s divested PC business, sales rose 4% from the year-ago quarter.

Services sales were up 3% to $11.7 billion, hardware sales climbed 7% to $5.1 billion, and software revenues were up 5% to $3.8 billion. IBM said it expects fourth-quarter earnings to come in above the consensus estimate of $1.87 a share.

“IBM had a good quarter,” CEO Sam Palmisano said in a statement. “It showed the strength of our business model across hardware, software and services.”

Shares of IBM climbed 1% in after-hours trading.

Also after the close, Novellus missed earnings estimates, and Rambus blew past earnings and sales estimates.

Stocks rose during the day despite the threat of another Gulf Coast hurricane. Wholesale inflation will be reported Tuesday morning, and Yahoo , Intel and Motorola will be among the names reporting after the close Tuesday night.

The Nasdaq rose 5 to 2070, the S&P 500 gained 3 to 1190, and the Dow rose 60 to 10,348. Volume declined to 2.03 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.3 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-15 on the NYSE, while decliners held a 16-14 edge on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 67% on the NYSE, and 59% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 31-142 on the NYSE, and 45-89 on the Nasdaq.

Nortel climbed 5% on a new CEO.

S1 fell 6% after lowering guidance and announcing a restructuring plan, while RSA shed 7% despite reaffirming guidance.

24/7 Media lost 9% on a downgrade.

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