HP's Q1: No drama counts as a win

Summary:HP's quarter is likely to be mixed, but the bar has been set low enough for the company to quietly start topping expectations.

HP is expected to report a relatively quiet fiscal first quarter that will roughly meet expectations. Chalk a drama-free quarter up as a win for HP CEO Meg Whitman.

Wall Street analysts expect HP to report earnings of 87 cents a share on revenue of $30.7 billion.

Now HP's quarter isn't going to be stellar. In fact, HP's quarter is likely to be mixed, but the bar has been set low enough for the company to quietly start topping expectations. "What we are picking up are mixed trends where the company is regaining credibility with customers and fixing inventory issues in its PC and printer businesses," said Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu in a research note.

According to Wu, HP's weak consumer business should be offset by strength in the enterprise and SMB markets.

Among the moving parts:

  • HP's outlook for the fiscal second quarter ending April 30 is expected to be in line with expectations. Wall Street is expecting second quarter earnings of 95 cents a share.
  • The PC business for HP has stabilized, but the company has lost share to Lenovo and Apple, noted Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. Misek said that HP's enterprise chief Dave Donatelli has smoothed over PC business worries with customers and employees.
  • Hard drive shortage impact. Analysts expect HP to take a hit from hard drive shortages, but a vast supply chain is likely to minimize the damage.
  • Server demand improving? Last week, HP rolled out new ProLiant servers that are designed to be easier to provision and maintain. General availability will be in March and that could give HP a late second quarter bump.
  • Autonomy integration progress. Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said that HP investors will monitor Whitman's chat about integrating Autonomy.
  • Services. HP has said that its strategy is to reinvest in the services unit formerly known as EDS. The challenge is that these investments will take time to fix the business. Whitmore said that he expects "a long, slow turnaround in EDS."


Topics: Banking, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Printers, Servers


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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