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IBM

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blew past Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings estimates Tuesday, despite missing analysts' revenue expectations by more than $1 billion, and said its 2009 full-year profit would also exceed current projections.

The tech services and hardware giant said net income for its latest fourth quarter rose 12% to $4.42 billion, or $3.28 a share, from continuing operations profit of $3.95 billion, or $2.80 a share, a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting the company to post a profit of $3.03 a share.

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Shares of IBM were recently up 3.9% in recent after-hours trading to $85.14.

Fourth-quarter revenue, hit by the strength in the dollar, fell 6% to $27 billion (or 1% adjusted for currency adjustments).

However, the Street had been expecting revenue of $28.15 billion.

IBM was able to lift gross profit margin to 47.9% from 44.9% a year earlier, beating Street estimates of 45.4%. The company said selling, general and administrative expenses fell 5% in the fourth quarter.

Revenue in IBM's Americas segment fell 2% in the quarter, but rose 2% when adjusting for currency. In the company's third quarter, Americas revenue had grown 3%.

Revenue in the company's Europe/Middle East/Africa segment fell 12%; it had grown 10% in the third quarter.

For next year, IBM said it expected earnings of at least $9.20 a share, above current analyst expectations of $8.75 a share.