HP: The New Dell?

It's hard to call a few quarters a major trend, but so far HP's turnaround is showing signs of sticking.


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Posted November 18, 2005

Paul Shread

It's hard to call a few quarters a major trend, but so far HP's recent turnaround is showing signs of sticking.

And HP's strong results also suggest that the company may be the cause of at least some of Dell's recent troubles.

HP reported blow-out quarterly results after the close on Thursday, showing none of the weakness that has plagued rivals in recent months.

HP's pro forma earnings of 51 cents a share — after backing out restructuring costs — came in a nickel ahead of estimates, and sales of $22.91 billion topped $22.76 billion forecasts. The IT giant's January quarter guidance of 46 to 48 cents a share was ahead of analysts' forecast of 44-cent earnings, but sales guidance of $22.3-$22.6 billion was at the low end of $22.61 billion estimates.

"HP delivered another strong quarterly performance, with balanced revenue growth, good cost discipline, improved margins in key businesses and strong cash flow," HP CEO Mark Hurd said in a statement. "We are pleased with our progress to date, but there is more work ahead of us."

The results were led by 9% growth in Personal Systems, a 12% increase in server sales, a 17% jump in storage sales, and 11% growth in software. Services were up 6%, and imaging and printing 4%. Within Personal Systems, desktop revenue rose 1%, notebook sales grew 23%, and workstations sales climbed 8%. Overall sales increased 7%.

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