(Bloomberg) -- IBM’s profit narrowly topped analysts’ estimates last quarter after a lower tax rate curbed costs and helped the company weather a persistent slump in demand.

Adjusted earnings, excluding some items, fell 17 percent from a year earlier to $4.84 a share, International Business Machines Corp. said in a statement Tuesday. Analysts had forecast $4.81 a share on average, a forecast that’s come down almost 10 percent in the past three months. IBM’s operating tax rate was 14.7 percent in the quarter, a decrease of 7.1 percentage points from the year earlier period.

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