HP Q4 results top consensus, Q1 view higher as well; Chromebooks soar

Results were buoyed by an 18% surge in notebook revenue, especially sales of higher-end systems and Chromebooks.

Shares of PC giant HP Inc. surged in late trading as the company delivered fiscal Q4 revenue and profit that easily topped analysts' expectations, and forecast this quarter's profit higher as well.

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CEO Enrique Lores called the quarter a "strong" one, noting "record unit shipments in the quarter, reflecting the important role HP technology is playing in the lives of our customers."

Added Lores, "Our results give us great confidence in our ability to drive long-term growth and shareholder value in 2021 and beyond."

Revenue in the three months ended in October fell by 1%, year over year, to $15.26 billion, yielding EPS of 62 cents. 

That compares to consensus for $14.71 billion and 52 cents per share. 

Revenue from notebook computers surged by 18%, year over year, and up 1% from the prior quarter, to $7.4 billion. Revenue from desktops and workstations, however, dropped sharply, by 28% and 45%, respectively. Total Personal Systems revenue was flat with the prior-year period at $10.43 billion, and up 1% from Q3's level. 

Printing revenue declined 3% from the year-earlier period, to $4.8 billion, but was up by a double-digits percentage amount from Q3's level. 

During the company's conference call with analysts this evening, Lores noted in prepared remarks that sales in Personal Systems were especially strong in the category of "consumer premium" PCs, which rose by 29%. Consumer displays and accessories sales were up 59%, he pointed out. 

And revenue and units from sales of Chromebooks more than doubled, Lores said. 

Lores said he was "very pleased" with the pace of the printing business in the quarter.

For the current quarter, the company sees earnings per share in a range of 64 cents to 70 cents, ahead of consensus for 57 cents. Lores told analysts on the call that parts shortages continue to be a challenge  "We exited the quarter with an elevated backlog and continued to operate with component supply shortages, which are expected to constrain our growth through the first half of 2021," he said.

HP shares rose over 8% to $23.56 in late trading.