International Business Machines Corporation: 3 Reasons to Be Bullish on IBM Stock Income Investors 2017-06-30 07:52:04 International Business Machines CorporationNYSE:IBMIBM stockdividend stocksIBM dividendIBM acquisitionstech stock IBM stock (NYE:IBM): Three reasons to be bullish on this tech stock, return of capital, growing acquisitions, and cheap valuation. Dividend Stocks,IBM Stock,Income Investors,News https://www.incomeinvestors.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Upside-Ahead-for-IBM-Stock-150x150.jpg

International Business Machines Corporation: 3 Reasons to Be Bullish on IBM Stock

Is There Upside Ahead for IBM Stock?

A $10,000 investment five years ago in International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE:IBM) stock would be worth $9,180 today. And now, all the major U.S. indices are trading higher compared to back then. Is this a signal to stay away, or is now the time to consider investing in IBM stock?

When a stock trades lower in a rising market, it tends to mean that the company is struggling and investors are looking for opportunities that are participating in the upside of the markets. There will be times when investors will say enough is enough and move their capital to an investment that is moving in the same trend as the markets. This is perfectly acceptable and is what makes the markets.

But I believe investors should take another look at IBM stock. When conducting my research I looked at the company as a whole and the areas that the market may be missing. As a result, I have found three areas of interest that makes a case for being bullish on IBM stock. The first reason to consider IBM stock is because of the actions of the management team to reward shareholders with some of the profits.

Return of Capital 

IBM’s dividend is paid quarterly and is reviewed annually. The review is done to ensure that the dividend is able to remain and to determine if more can be paid out. As of today, the dividend has seen growth for 17 straight years. Below is a snippet of the growth in dividends per share (DPS) over the years since 2011:

Ex-Dividend Date DPS
% Change
Declaration Date
Record Date Payment Date
May 08, 2017 $1.50 7.1% April 25, 2017 May 10, 2017 June 10, 2017
February 08, 2017 $1.40 N/A January 31, 2017 February 10, 2017 March 10, 2017
November 08, 2016 $1.40 N/A October 25, 2016 November 10, 2016 December 10, 2016
August 08, 2016 $1.40 N/A July 26, 2016 August 10, 2016 September 10, 2016
May 06, 2016 $1.40 7.7% April 26, 2016 May 10, 2016 June 10, 2016
February 08, 2016 $1.30 N/A January 26, 2016 February 10, 2016 March 10, 2016
November 06, 2015 $1.30 N/A October 27, 2015 November 10, 2015 December 10, 2015
August 06, 2015 $1.30 N/A July 28, 2015 August 10, 2015 September 10, 2015
May 06, 2015 $1.30 18.2% April 28, 2015 May 08, 2015 June 10, 2015
February 06, 2015 $1.10 N/A January 27, 2015 February 10, 2015 March 10, 2015
November 06, 2014 $1.10 N/A October 28, 2014 November 10, 2014 December 10, 2014
August 06, 2014 $1.10 N/A July 29, 2014 August 08, 2014 September 10, 2014
May 07, 2014 $1.10 15.8% April 29, 2014 May 09, 2014 June 10, 2014
February 06, 2014 $0.95 N/A January 28, 2014 February 10, 2014 March 10, 2014
November 06, 2013 $0.95 N/A October 29, 2013 November 08, 2013 December 10, 2013
August 07, 2013 $0.95 N/A July 30, 2013 August 09, 2013 September 10, 2013
May 08, 2013 $0.95 11.8% April 30, 2013 May 10, 2013 June 10, 2013
February 06, 2013 $0.85 N/A January 29, 2013 February 08, 2013 March 09, 2013
November 07, 2012 $0.85 N/A October 30, 2012 November 09, 2012 December 10, 2012
August 08, 2012 $0.85 N/A July 31, 2012 August 10, 2012 September 10, 2012
May 08, 2012 $0.85 13.3% April 24, 2012 May 10, 2012 June 09, 2012
February 08, 2012 $0.75 N/A January 31, 2012 February 10, 2012 March 10, 2012
November 08, 2011 $0.75 N/A October 25, 2011 November 10, 2011 December 10, 2011
August 08, 2011 $0.75 N/A July 26, 2011 August 10, 2011 September 10, 2011

Over this period, the dividend has seen annual growth of 7.1% to 18.2% and the dividend payment has doubled, going from $0.75 to $1.50. The average payout ratio since 2011 has been approximately 38% of every dollar of earnings.

The dividend is not the only method used to reward shareholders, as IBM has also been buying back shares, leaving investors owning more of the company. This also signals to the markets that shares are cheap and supports the share price via continued buying until the share program is complete or a new one is announced. The most recent repurchase program was announced in October 2016 to the tune of $3.0 billion. (Source: “IBM Board Approves Quarterly Cash Dividend; Authorizes $3 Billion for Stock Repurchase,” International Business Machines Corporation, October 25, 2016.)

Growth Through Acquisitions

IBM acquires more than five companies a year, on average. This is a great way to grow the business because it gives IBM a larger market share, assuming the acquisition was a competitor. If a business was acquired that IBM did not have in its current ecosystem, it also provides exposure to that market. And if there is overlap, then IBM enjoys greater efficiency and reduced operating costs.

Further cost reduction could come through either reducing the number of employees or by closing an unneeded office. Also keep in mind that when a company is acquired, it takes a year or two to determine how the business can fit into IBM’s entire ecosystem and where cost could be reduced.

IBMStock

Martin/Flickr

An example of a recent acquisition is the purchase of Merge Healthcare Incorporated in 2015. A leading provider of medical image handling and processing and clinical systems, Merge currently has its services usedin 7,500 U.S. healthcare systems sites. The purchase will work perfectly alongside another of IBM’S business units, “Watson Health,” and see numerous healthcare companies use the Watson Health cloud services to better serve patients. While the possibility of healthcare providers using the Watson platform was always there, the Merge acquisition potentially greatly shortens what would have otherwise been a long process to complete. (Source: “IBM Closes Deal to Acquire Merge Healthcare,.” International Business Machines Corporation, October 13, 2015.)

Another move to compliment the Merge acquisition was the purchase of Truven Health Analytics, a provider of cloud-based healthcare data and analytics. Truven has more than 8,500 clients, including U.S. federal and state government agencies, healthcare companies, hospitals, clinicians, and life science companies. The acquisition will put IBM as one of the world’s largest health data companies in the world. (Source: “IBM Watson Health Announces Plans to Acquire Truven Health Analytics for $2.6B, Extending Its Leadership in Value-Based Care Solutions,.” International Business Machines Corporation, February 18, 2016.)

Cheap Valuation

Technology companies normally have the highest valuations in the marketplace. However, this is not the case for IBM stock; it is currently trading at a low price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 12.8 times. This is cheap compared to the valuation of the S&P 500 Index, which has a P/E ratio of 25.67 times. It is also below the industry average P/E of 51.9 times. The lower the ratio, the better since it means less of a multiple is paid for the company’s earnings

IBM is still growing, and it is doing so through acquisitions. This should lead to greater earnings growth and a rise in the price of IBM stock, with it P/E ratio.  Given time IBM stock, could eventually trade in line with its industry peers, if not higher.

Also Read:

IBM Stock: One Dividend Stock to Own in 2017 and Beyond

7 Reliable Warren Buffett Dividend Stocks to Watch in April 2017

Final Thoughts About IBM Stock

The return on capital, growth through acquisitions, and attractive valuation, are just three reasons to be bullish on IBM stock. Remember that even though the past five years saw a negative return doesn’t mean future returns will be the same.

IBM stock offers both growth and income from a technology company, which is a rarity in the marketplace. Since IBM is unflavored by the markets, now could be the right opportunity to pick up shares for your investment portfolio.

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