IBM nudged up its outlook for the full year and reported stronger-than-expected results as more companies bolstered spending on software and consulting on hopes of a sustained recovery for the technology sector.

International Business Machines Corp said on Monday its first-quarter profit rose to $2.6 billion, or $1.97 per share, from $2.3 billion, or $1.70 per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected earnings per share of $1.93, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $22.9 billion from $21.7 billion, accelerating from a 1 percent year-on-year gain in the previous quarter. Wall Street had forecast revenue of $22.7 billion.

The company raised its 2010 profit target to at least $11.20 from a previous outlook of at least $11.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Richard Chang)