RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Wall Street is expecting IBM (NYSE: IBM) to report positive news today when it reports quarterly financials after the markets close at 4 p.m.

Even though President Jim Whitehurst stepped down recently, Big Blue continues to report deals and technology advances as CEO Arvind Krishna leads the firm toward a spinoff of its services business and continues to put his focus on cloud and artificial intelligence.

Amit Daryanani of Evercore ISI says second quarter results should be a “solid quarter,” according to Yahoo Finance. Meanwhile, BMO Capital raised its IBM share target price by $5 to $155. BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman also maintained a “Market Perform” rating on IBM shares.

Writing at Nasdaq, Richard Saintvilus reports that IBM – which operates one of its largest campuses in RTP and employs thousands of people across the state including personnel at Raleigh-based Red Hat – is making progress.

IBM is expected “to grow revenues by high single digits annually over the next five years. Meanwhile, the stock has rallied from about $115 back in January to near $140. Accordingly, the stock is now facing some key resistance. The market is now, understandably, taking a wait-and-see attitude with Monday’s earnings results.,”  Given how long investors have waited for the real turnaround in IBM to begin, the market will want to see continued revenue acceleration on Monday before believing IBM deserves to be in the growth category for investors.”

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Financial services firm Zacks estimates that IBM will report $2.25 in earnings, up 3.2% year over year.

Revenues are expected to be slightly higher at $18.2 billion.

What’s the growth coming from?

“[R]esults are likely to reflect gains from steady adoption of its hybrid cloud computing capabilities, mobile, analytics, cognitive technologies and AI-related solutions,” Zacks reports.

And Raleigh-based Red Hat, which IBM acquired three years ago where Whitehurst had been CEO, is expected to be a big bottom-line contributor.

“Synergies from the Red Hat acquisition are expected to have contributed to the cloud segment’s revenues,” Zacks forecast. “Revenues from Red Hat in the first quarter increased 17% (up 15% at cc) on a normalized basis, driven by strong uptake of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenShift platform.”

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Hybrid cloud, which IBM advertises heavily about, involves a mix of public cloud and private enterprise-owned operations.

“More than 3,000 clients including the likes of Barclays and Walmart are using Red Hat and IBM’s hybrid cloud platform, presently,” Zacks says.

More change coming

IBM also has made several acquisitions so far this year – some to drive cloud services, others to boost services.

Later this year IBM expects to complete the spinoff of the services group under the name Kymdryl.

But IBM facecs tough competition in the cloud business, Zacks notes, pointing to Amazon, Microsoft and Google.