SAN FRANCISCO -- Shares of IBM ( IBM) were trading at another 52-week high, helped by a broad market rally that has favored large tech stocks. Big Blue has given investors plenty of reason for enthusiasm this year by aggressively buying back stock, paring pension contributions and emphasizing sales of high-margin software. Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge says this trio of tactics will help the 96-year-old tech icon nearly double earnings per share by 2010. IBM shares were recently trading up 35 cents, about 0.3%, to $119.41, above a high of $119.44 reached on Monday. So far this year, IBM's stock has gained 22% compared to a 9% rise for the S&P 500. Investors have broadly rallied behind the tech sector this year in the hope that corporate purchases of software and tech gear would insulate them from a housing market downturn and rising oil prices that could dampen consumer spending. The Vanguard Information Technology ( VGT) exchange-traded fund has risen about 17% this year. In addition to IBM, the fund includes several marquee tech names trading at or near all-time highs, including Apple ( AAPL), Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Cisco Systems ( CSCO). Many investors also favor large companies with exposure to international markets that are growing faster than the U.S. economy. And because of the weakening U.S. dollar, sales from abroad are worth more.