PC giant HP Inc. this afternoon reported fiscal Q1 revenue and profit that topped analysts' expectations, and an outlook for profit this quarter, and for the year, that topped expectations.
The report was released before the close of market, whereas Wall Street was expecting it after the market close. The early release sent HP shares up almost 4% in afternoon trading before the stock was halted on The New York Stock Exchange. Upon resumption of trade, the stock gave up some gains and trade up by 1% to 2%.
Results from competitor Dell Technologies are expected out after the bell.
CEO Enrique Lores called the quarter "an exceptional start to the year with strong revenue, profit, and EPS growth."
Added Lores, "The strength of our portfolio and diversity of our businesses is driving our performance and positioning HP well for the future
"Simply put, we are doing what we said we would do -- and our strategy is working."
Revenue in the three months ended in December rose to $15.65 billion, yielding a net profit of 92 cents a share.
Analysts had been modeling $15 billion and 66 cents per share.
HP said its Personal Systems unit that sells PCs saw a 7% year-over-year increase in revenue, to $10.6 billion. That included a 34% jump in consumer purchases. Total units were up 15%, said HP, with notebook computer sales in units up 33% while desktops declined 23%.
HP noted its sales of Chromebooks quadrupled in the quarter, making up 16% of units sold in the group.
In the Printing group, HP said sales also rose 7%, to $5 billion. The company's printing sales in unit terms rose 16%, with consumer sales up 18%, and commercial sales flat. The all-important supplies figure was 3%, or 4% in constant currency.
HP's operating profit, on a non-gap basis, increased to 9.4% of revenue from 8.1% a year earlier.
For the current quarter, the company sees EPS in a range of 84 cents to 90 cents. That compares to consensus for a 61-cent profit per share.
HP management will host a conference call with analysts at 4:30 pm, Eastern time, and you can listen in to it from the HP investor relations Web site.
Update: During the call with analysts, CEO Lores said he was not satisified with the company's growth relative to competitors.
In answer to one analyst's question about the company's strategy in the PC market, Lores remarked, "So, we had a very strong quarter in absolute terms on PCs, revenue growth, unit growth, profit growth, but we didn't on relative terms.
"And being as competitive as we are, this is not something that we are satisfied about," he added.
Lores didn't refer to any competitor by name, but Dell Technologies this afternoon reported its own very strong results. Dell's PC sales rose 17%, year over year.
"We are looking at what can we do and what will we do to improve our relative performance," said Lores. "We have already taken some actions to do that by increasing inventory and changing how the connections that we have with certain component providers, and this will be helping us to improve our performance going forward."