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19/10/2010

IBM profit beats estimates but shares retreat

NEW YORK (Reuters) – IBM reported a higher-than-expected profit and raised its outlook for the full year, helped by sales of new hardware products, but its shares retreated after hitting historic highs earlier in the day.

International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) said its quarterly net profit rose to $3.6 billion, or $2.82 a share, compared to $3.2 billion, or $2.40 a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected earnings per share of $2.75, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quarterly revenue rose to $24.3 billion from $23.6 billion a year earlier on a 15 percent rise in sales of its "System z" mainframe computers. Wall Street expected $24.1 billion.

The company said it expects earnings of "at least $11.40 per share" for the full year, up from its previous forecast of "at least $11.25."

However, IBM shares fell 2.8 percent to $138.80 after-hours. They closed at $142.83 after touching a historic high of $143.03.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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