Is IBM Really a Tech Tell?

Lots of people crowing tonight about tech companies beating the street: CRM, INTC, and IBM in particular. So, what we are to glean? Has tech turned?

I like tech, or at least parts of tech, but I have trouble with an undiscerning tech sector call. Here’s why:

  • IBM: Good numbers tonight with a slight beat on earnings, but IBM isn’t really a tech stock. It’s a service stock, and an outsourcing story as much as anything. Further, it’s insulated from early stages of any downturn via long-term contracts.
  • INTC: Yes, the company met numbers, but it met reduced numbers on reduced guidance. In other words, things didn’t decelerate faster than it thought they would, but that’s not necessarily saying much.
  • CRM: A solid story, and a tech story, but not a strong tell for the rest of enterprise tech. CRM is a SaaS company, with long-term contracts, considerably insulation from short-term vagaries in the market, and it’s good cost-reduction story. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but I wouldn’t read overmuch into it either.
  • EBAY: I haven’t had a lot of time to look at this one tonight, but it looks like a slight beat on revenues and earnings. If anyone had a closer look — the stock is up 1% afterhours — fill in the blanks below. Generally speaking, I increasingly think of EBAY as a kind of global pawnshop, which makes it somewhat countercyclical.
  • GOOG: Let’s see how GOOG does later this week. I still think it doesn’t do as badly as people expect, but let’s see.

Other views? Do INTC, IBM, etc. matter more than I think they do?