For the tech sector and exchange traded funds (ETFs), earnings season has been a solid one so far.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is not the only company that posted strong earnings growth based on the massive popularity of the iPhone. Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) chipped in with earnings in line with expectations.

But IBM (NYSE: IBM) may be a better indicator of what the tech sector’s outlook truly is, posits Michael Comeau for Minyanville.

The good news is that IBM’s growth markets (which includes the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India and China) grew by 16%; revenue of $24.3 billion came in above the $24.1 billion consensus; earnings per share grew by 18% and beat Wall Street’s expectations. [Tech ETFs Get An Early Boost.]

One down note struck was outsourcing deals, which sank 14% for the quarter. IBM signed an outsourcing deal on Oct. 8, missing the end of the quarter. Had the deal been signed prior to that, deals would instead have been up 14%. [Finding Values In Tech ETFs.]

  • Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK)
  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology (NYSEArca: IYW)
  • PowerShares QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQQ)

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.