NEW YORK – Shares of International Business Machines on Tuesday fell for the second day in a row as investors concerned about the accounting behind the computer maker's earnings failed to take solace in the company's plan to provide more details on its results.
On the New York Stock Exchange, IBM shares fell $3.35, or 3.26 percent, to close at $99.54, and helped drag the broader market lower. The Dow Jones industrial average was off 1.6 percent. The declines come after IBM, a component of the blue-chip index, lost about $5 on Friday.
After gaining 42 percent in 2001, the stock has lost 19 percent so far this year and nearly 8 percent in two days.
IBM came under scrutiny after a New York Times report on Friday noted that the company did not reveal details of a gain from the sale of a unit it had booked as intellectual property revenue.
IBM spokeswoman Carol Makovich said that, starting with its 2001 annual report, IBM will provide information including the impact of gains and losses from its investments, the effect of amortization of goodwill, gains on sales of real estate and the impact of income from IBM's pension plan.
Investors have become especially wary about accounting issues after watching the implosion of other companies, such as energy company Enron Corp. Those concerns drove IBM shares down again on Tuesday even after the company said it planned to increase its earnings-related disclosure.
"We're in an environment where investors are reacting to accounting issues negatively, of course driven by the news about Enron," said Jay Stevens, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group. He has a buy rating and a $135 price target on the stock.
But, he said, what's important is that IBM includes everything in their earnings.
"If you work your way up and try to look at operating margins etc. there are some adjustments that might have to be made, but the bottom line is everything is reported and the earnings per share remained unchanged regardless of the criticism and that's what counts," he said.
Not everyone on Wall Street agrees.
Prudential Securities analyst Kimberly Alexy cut her price target on IBM to $100 from $111, saying that due to investor concerns about accounting raised by the bankruptcy of Enron, she expects the company's multiple to decline. She has a hold on the stock.
The company said it had adequately disclosed the sale, but as first reported in the Wall Street Journal, IBM said on Tuesday that it plans to begin disclosing how individual items affect earnings.
That sale, the company said, added $300 million to intellectual property income in the fourth quarter, accounting for the bulk of the company's $400 million in intellectual property income.
Salomon Smith Barney analyst Richard Gardner, meanwhile, maintained his $130 price target on the stock but said that IBM had confirmed that the sale of the unit to JDS Uniphase added 12 cents to fourth-quarter earnings.
Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.