IBM ( IBM) shares have been on a consistent run since last quarter's impressive earnings beat, and many on Wall Street expect another solid performance when the company reports Thursday after the close. The stock has climbed more than 16% since reporting its
third-quarter results , with IBM shares continuing recently to reset 52-week highs, closing over the $100 mark earlier this week. Shares of the IT services giant closed Wednesday off 80 cents to $100.02. For the fourth quarter, analysts polled by Thomson First Call peg Big Blue to make a profit of $2.19 a share on sales of $25.66 billion. "We expect IBM to post strong fourth-quarter results," Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Bernstein Research, wrote in a Tuesday note. His estimates are 6 cents above the current consensus on EPS and $320 million higher than the average revenue forecast. Even with the recent run, the stock remains "attractively valued.... (and) on an apples-to-apples basis (i.e., including stock options and amortization of intangibles), it trades at a 19% discount to Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), its closest peer," Sacconaghi wrote. "We note that the stock is essentially flat since 2002, when it last traded over $100, despite EPS growth being up 12% (excluding options and pension costs) over those four years," he added.