Wednesday, May 22, 2013


As I said in the last post, a topsy-turvy world in the stock market.  Here's how veteran Chris O'Brien (one of my favorite reporters, who has moved from the San Jose Merc-News to the LA Times) said it:

Hot off the wire : Hewlett-Packard Co. reported earnings for its fiscal first-quarter Thursday that sailed past analyst estimates despite shrinking revenue.
The results were some much-needed good news for a company that has drawn criticism on Wall Street because of its recent performance. During the previous two quarters, HP announced losses totaling $15.3 billion as the company suffered write-downs on a few ill-fated acquisitions.
Digging deeper, Meg said that:

"We did better than we expected on the bottom line.  We still see declining sales, which is something we want to fix. We're on it. We've got a plan."
HP posted a profit of $1.2 billion, or 63 cents a share, for the last three months of 2012. That was a 16% drop from the year-ago period when the company reported a profit of 73 cents a share.  Stripping out some accounting items, the company would have earned 82 cents a share -- easily surpassing Wall Street projections of 71 cents a share.
Sales declined 6% to $28.36 billion during the quarter, which was still slightly above analysts' expectations.
Highlighting the magnitude of the challenges, all but one segment of HP's business saw revenue decline in the first quarter from the same period a year ago: personal systems group revenue fell 8%; printing fell 5%; enterprise group fell 4%; enterprise servcies fell 7% and software fell 2%. Only financial services saw an increase, of 1%.  Left unstated in this release, but noted elsewhere -- PC sales were down an alarming 20% quarter-over-quarter, following the release of the underwhelming Windows 8 from Microsoft.
Still, the earnings report cheered investors, who drove the stock up $1.25, or 7.3%, to $18.35 in after-hours trading.
Whitman shared that optimism about the progress being made in her long-term turnaround plan. She has said in the past the the company probably wouldn't start to see revenue growth until 2014.
"I actually think part of what we've being doing is starting to pay dividends," she said. "I think we've got the best product lineup we've had across the business units in a decade."  (Now, you could be catty and say, "wow, she actually THINKS that PART of WHAT THEY're DOING is STARTING to help?"  What about all the rest?  Does she actually think the rest isn't helping?)
In the wake of rival Dell's buyout announcement and its recent weak earnings, Whitman remained confident that HP's Personal Systems Group, which includes PC sales, has a strong future.  Whitman said Dell appeared to be pursuing a strategy of commoditization, making the lowest cost machines possible. By contrast, she said HP is attempting to rethink features and design, to make distinctive gadgets that could deliver higher margins and revenues.
Whitman said the company continues to broaden its definition of PSG to include all computing platforms, including tablets and eventually smartphones. HP has recently announced plans to move beyond Microsoft's Windows to make devices based on Google's Chrome operating system. As of now, the company had no further updates regarding when it might return to making smartphones.  (Thank Gawd)

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