Big Things in Store for “Big Blue”: Experts

International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) is set to report earnings next week, and one market watcher sees the stock as a value play at current levels.

The company is scheduled to announce quarterly results Thursday after the market closes, and Mark Tepper of Strategic Wealth Partners likes the stock, off to a strong start to the year, ahead of its report. He harbours the opinion that the stock is undervalued relative to its peers, with a forward price-earnings ratio of 11.8; the company is strong in the cloud, mobile, security and analytics spaces, and IBM is expanding its footprint in the growing blockchain market.

The stock fell nearly 8% last year and the company has seen 22 straight quarters of declining revenue. Still, after its last earnings report in October, the stock surged 9%.

The company known as “Big Blue” was in the news earlier this week, on word its inventors received a record 9,043 patents in 2017, marking the company's 25th consecutive year of U.S. patent leadership and crossing the 100,000-patent milestone.

A press release issued Tuesday revealed that the new patents were granted to a diverse group of more than 8,500 IBM researchers, engineers, scientists and designers in 47 different U.S. states and 47 countries.

IBM inventors also patented significant inventions in emerging areas like quantum computing, including a new way for improving a quantum computer's ability to acquire and retain information – otherwise known as signal readout fidelity. This can lead to efficiency in the components necessary to build a quantum computing system.

IBM stock acquired 22 cents Friday to $164.42