NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of IBM Corp. (IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report are up by 0.66% to $156.90 in early afternoon trading on Monday, after the company commented on claims made in a Forbes article published on Thursday that suggested the tech giant was on the verge of a massive employee layoff.

Forbes suggested IBM had a plan to eliminate 26% of its workforce, the largest such employee reduction in the company's history, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A spokesperson for IBM told the Journal that it was reiterating comments made following the company's fourth quarter earnings results saying that a much smaller number of IBM's employees are leaving as part of a "rebalancing" initiative designed to create positions within the company in order to hire people with new skills.

Exclusive Report:Jim Cramer's Best Stocks for 2015

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

TheStreet Recommends

"IBM does not comment on rumors, even ridiculous or baseless ones. If anyone had checked information readily available from our public earnings statements, or had simply asked us, they would know that IBM has already announced the company has just taken a $600 million charge for workforce rebalancing. This equates to several thousand people, a small fraction of what's been reported," the spokesperson told the Journal.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP (IBM) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. Among the primary strengths of the company is its respectable return on equity which we feel is likely to continue. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and generally higher debt management risk."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the IT Services industry and the overall market, INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP increased its bottom line by earning $15.68 versus $15.34 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($16.00 versus $15.68).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 20.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 12.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the IT Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 11.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $6,184.00 million to $5,484.00 million.
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, IBM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 14.74% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: IBM Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.