However, Big Blue’s shareholders remain, well, blue. Last week’s low was also its lowest level since January 2011, and IBM remains the DJIA’s worst performer of 2014 with a 13.5% drop—all of it since the Dow first closed above 17000 on July 3 and equal to a 168-point ballast on the index since then. The index’s second-weakest stock this year has been Chevron with an 8.8% decline.
As such, IBM is just a week away from some infamy—becoming the first Dow component to be bottom of the barrel in consecutive years since now-departed Bethlehem Steel in 1995 and 1996. So unless oil swoons anew or big company-specific news comes the next week, IBM is set to join that club.
Selected reader comments follow:
Watson and Watson Jr. would be turning in their graves over the goings on at IBM over the past few years. As an IBM shareholder of over 15 years, I say it's about time the board did something before it is well and truly too late.
Management may still be adjusting to potential changes triggered by both recent and on-going SEC scrutiny. If so, earnings visibility for the company could easily be a challenge until this gets further along. ...
Disclosures made by IBM in just the past 18 months point to SEC pressure in two areas: A festering FCPA probe that appears ongoing and investigation in May 2013 into how IBM reports cloud revenue, which was concluded in May-2014. The company reports the cloud revenue investigation was concluded without the SEC taking enforcement action.
Pros: *You get an alright entry level experience of financial planning and analysis for a Fortune 30 company. *Great networking opportunities and you work with some incredible and brilliant people. *Awesome work life balance, but at the cost of performing unfulfilling humdrum work. *You get really good at Ping Pong, and they have a private disc golf course on site that is top quality.
Pros: They expect, and pay for, high performing employees. Most "education" is informal, learning from peers.
Cons: The medical benefits are worsening, year after year. The cost to the employee goes up, and the coverage goes down. For some common medications, Medicare offers better coverage. I suspect that is kind of where the medical benefits are headed: to the Affordable Care Act, with the employee's portion subsidized by IBM. That'll suck.
Pros: The training for sales is the best in the business. Strong team and IBM provided adequate time to take the training. Sales compensation was average at best.
Cons: Lack of support — everything is "on your own" to figure out. You get 5-page emails to set up your phone and no support if it doesn't work. Hopefully you have a friend that can help you out. Antiquated systems — the forecasting solution is a joke. It's still Excel based, way too complicated, and you spend a great deal of time trying to figure out why numbers don't match no teamwork — there is no sense of team. None. Most of the team is made up of "B" and "C" players just trying to "get by" and find a role where they can "hide" for a year or two.
Advice to Senior Management: Act like you care about your team. When I was at IBM it was all about numbers and sucking up to the management team that was in charge at the time. It seemed like performance, integrity, and teamwork were lost concepts.
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