IBM Obtains Upgrade, Could Lift Stock

Shares of IBM (NYSE: IBM) promised some mid-week lift, after a top Wall Street bank upgraded shares, saying "a new dawn emerges."

Barclays raised its rating on the stock known as “Big Blue” to overweight from underweight on Wednesday, advising investors that the company could come to rival Amazon and Microsoft's Azure in the cloud technology business.

"We think that IBM could emerge as the next important cloud vendor after Amazon and Azure over time as customers seek a multi-cloud strategy to avoid vendor lock-in or technology complacency," wrote Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz.

"As a result, IBM's strategic revenue should surpass legacy revenue – implying the worst may be over."

The analyst raised his price target to $192 from $133, representing 17% upside from Tuesday's close.

IBM has struggled to keep its top line steady over the past several years as competition in technology grows even fiercer; the company's revenue has declined for 22 quarters in a row as of its October earnings report. But the company has tended to beat expectations as of late and now expects to finish the 2017 calendar year with at least $13.80 in earnings per share, five cents higher than consensus.

IBM reports fourth-quarter earnings Thursday after the bell. The shares are down 2.4% over the last 12 months.

Roughly 46% of revenue in the third quarter came from new strategic imperatives like developments in analytics, mobile and security technologies while cloud revenue for the quarter was $4.1 billion, up 20% from the year before.

IBM shares hiked $3.82, or 2.3%, to $167.67.