IBM’s stock price fell heavily in the two days before Christmas, shedding some $4, and marking time thereafter to close the year at around $121. The consensus was that revised full-year 1986 and 1987 earnings estimates by several brokers were responsible for the IBM share price’s dismal close to the year. Kidder Peabody now has one of the lowest 1986 estimates for the company on Wall Street, after reportedly cutting its figure to $7.95 from $8.70. Dean Witter Reynolds analyst Jay Stevens announced that he cut his 1987 earnings estimate to $9.25 from $10. Stevens cited the early retirement programme as one reason for a slow first half of 1987. Stevens also lowered his recommendation of IBM stock to a weak buy from and aggressive buy. Alex Brown’s computer analyst Otis Bradley lowered his 1986 estimate to $8.20 from $8.60, while his 1987 figure fell to $8.75 from $9.75. Montgomery Securities also decreased its estimates: 1986 is down to $8 even from $8.88, and the 1987 estimate is now in the range of $9.50 to $10.50 from $10 to $11. The street-wide cuts have led some market watchers to suggest that IBM is feeding analysts financial information, but the company would not comment on these rumours. For what it’s worth, our own forecast for 1986, given just before Christmas (CI No 589) is just shy of $7.95 for 1986, right at the bottom of the range.
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