Meg Whitman's HP reboot starts paying off
Its latest earnings report still wasn't great, but it's good enough to argue that things may finally stop getting worse.
Shares of the company soared after HP reported earnings Thursday morning that were better than Wall Street expected, which nonetheless were still lousy.
Net income fell about 32% to $1.08 billion, or 55 cents per share, versus $1.59 billion, or 80 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue slumped 10% to $27.6 billion, fueled by across-the-board declines in every HP business. Excluding one-time items, profit was 87 cents per share, beating the 81-cent per share average estimate. Revenue lagged forecasts of $28.12 billion.
But the figure that really caught Wall Street's attention was operating cash flow, which rose 44% to $3.6 billion, indicating that the company is more disciplined about its spending. Whitman, who predicts profit growth will return next year, expects current-quarter earnings, excluding some costs, of 84 cents to 87 cents, better than the 83 cents analysts expected.
One bright spot for HP was the company's printing division. The business, which has gotten squeezed in recent years, reported revenue of $6.08 billion, a decrease of just 1%, buoyed by gains in supplies and commercial hardware. Profit, excluding some costs, rose about 19% to $958 million.
HP is hardly a stock for everyone, but investors with a high tolerance for risk and who think the good news will keep coming should add it to their portfolios. It's certainly cheap enough, trading a price-to-earnings multiple based on this year’s earnings of 6.89, which is lower than its peers. If Whitman's turnaround gains steam, the stock won't stay cheap for long.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Sure, you can live in Europe where employment is nearly guaranteed for life. Too bad in those countries, companies are afraid to HIRE people because they are nearly forced to employ them forever whether their markets can productively employ them or not. And too bad those type of polices in those countries result in stagnate economies and NORMAL unemployment runs 10%. Yes, please bring on the "I can not bare any risk in my life, and so accept no upside in my life ever" economy hire in the U.S. God knows Obama is trying hard enough to do it.
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