Top technology services company IBM affirmed its full-year earnings outlook and said results in January signaled growth in services contract signings in the first quarter, lifting the shares nearly 3 percent.

Contract signings for its business services have grown so far this year, IBM said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Recognizing that it is still early in the quarter, the company expects double-digit growth in long term signings, and growth in total signings in first quarter 2009, IBM said. Contracts for IBM services can range from less than a year to over 10 years.

The company added that it has a good pipeline of software opportunities in the first quarter.

The shares rose $2.44, or 2.8 percent, to $88.34.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Derek Caney)