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IBM Puts Tech-Spending Concerns to Rest, Lifts Software Stocks

White, who has a "buy" rating on IBM, raised his price target to $251 from $245. The analyst also hiked his first-quarter revenue estimate to $24.42 billion from $24.27 billion and his earnings estimate to $3.05 a share from $3. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for first-quarter revenue of $24.67 billion and earnings of $3.06 a share.

Societe Generale upgraded IBM from "sell" to "hold" and raised its target price to $201 from $188.

In a note released Wednesday, Societe Generale analyst Richard Nguyen pointed to IBM's better-than-expected guidance, the success of its new mainframe offerings and the company's potential for software and services growth.

"With an improving demand environment expected for [the second half of 2013], notably in Europe, IBM should be able to reverse its revenue growth trajectory which has declined over the last three quarters," he wrote.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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