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IBM returns to quarterly sales growth after a year of declines

April 19 (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp returned to sales growth in the first quarter after a year of declines and beat Wall Street targets on Monday, boosted by its bets in the high-margin cloud computing business.

The 109-year-old firm is preparing to split itself into two public companies, with the namesake firm narrowing its focus on the so-called hybrid cloud, where it sees a $1 trillion market opportunity.

Sales from its cloud computing services jumped 21% to $6.5 billion.

Total revenue rose nearly 1% to $17.73 billion in the quarter, beating analysts’ average estimate of $17.35 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income fell to $955 million, or $1.06 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $1.18 billion, or $1.31 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.77 per share, beating market expectation of $1.63.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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