(The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's expert contributor program.)ARMONK, NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Technology bellwether IBM ( IBM) isn't getting the respect it deserves, so any pullback under $200 would represent a tremendous buying opportunity. IBM is worth a closer look for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the company has been on a considerable tear all year and has logged what seems like a new 52-week high each week. The company's recent performance interests me quite a bit because it is hard to imagine that just a few years ago the company known as "Big Blue" was teetering on the verge of irrelevance. IBM languished under a stifling corporate culture and a crackpot attempt to take over the consumer and business technology hardware and software market. Today, IBM is once again a beacon of power and one that along with Apple ( AAPL) has led technology resurgence that two quarters ago seemed unimaginable. Going into IBM's earnings announcement on Tuesday, I was eager to see if it would be able to build on the momentum that started at the beginning of the year.
As far as the outlook is concerned, the company says it now expects to earn $15 per share on adjusted earnings. This is an increase from its previous guidance of $14.85 and tops analyst estimates of $14.93 per share. What stood out during the call was that the company said by the end of 2015 it expects to earn $20 per share - a statement that I thought was pretty impressive considering that companies rarely (if ever) project out that far. If that was not a statement of confidence, I don't know what is. It is now apparent is that a new IBM has emerged, one that has proven to be a consistent success in the face of stiff competition - many of which includes its race towards the cloud against names such as Oracle ( ORCL), SAP ( SAP) and HP ( HPQ). As usual it seems that IBM's performance has generated very little fanfare. Regardless, it begs the question, can IBM keep this up - "this" being the upward trajectory that its stock has enjoyed for most of the year. The company has projected better than decent long-term sales growth, but the steps that it has taken in software and services gives some hope that the company can maintain a slightly higher forward growth rate - likely in the 4% to 5% range.