HP’S OUTLOOK SOURS

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Hewlett-Packard Co. reported a rise in quarterly profit and sales on Tuesday that beat Wall Street’s forecasts, but a dour outlook overshadowed those results.

The world’s largest tech company measured by revenue lowered its sales forecast for the current quarter and fiscal year, due to the impact of the earthquake in Japan, weak demand for consumer personal computers and trouble in its services division.

The company expects profit of 90 cents per share on sales of $31.1 billion to $31.3 billion for the current quarter.

For the full year, HP says it expects earnings of $5 per share on sales of $129 billion to $130 billion. Previously, the company said it had expected a profit of $5.20 to $5.28 per share on revenue $130 billion to $131.5 billion.

HP’s revised expectations were all well below Wall Street’s forecasts.

Shares of HP (HPQ, Fortune 500) fell 5% in premarket trading.

Consumer PC sales have been slumping for the past several quarters, but demand took a turn for the worse over the past three months, as sales fell 23%. Sales of PCs to corporations were up 13%, but they could not make up for the quickly sinking consumer business.

HP’s IT services division also continued to struggle, with revenue growing just 2%. The company has long promised big numbers from its services unit, but growth has been tepid at best.

As a result, HP said Tuesday it is accelerating its previously announced plans to bring a much larger cloud computing component to its services business.

“Our enterprise strategy, with services at its core, is focused on higher value-added solutions,” said Léo Apotheker, HP’s CEO, in a prepared statement.

Other businesses performed well, including servers and software, sales of which grew by 15% and 17% respectively.

In March, Apotheker unveiled the company’s new strategy, in which both of those higher-margin businesses would become a greater focus within the company. Apotheker previously was the head of German software giant SAP (SAP).

Overall, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said net income for the fiscal second quarter, ended April 30, rose to $2.3 billion, or $1.05 per share. That’s up 5% from a year earlier.

Results included a one-time charge of 19 cents per share. Without the charge, HP said it earned $1.24 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who typically exclude one-time items from their estimates, forecasted earnings of $1.21 per share.

Sales rose 3% to $31.6 billion, topping analysts’ forecasts of $31.5 billion.

HP announced its earnings one day earlier than originally scheduled. On Monday, Bloomberg published a report citing an internal memo in which Apotheker warned top HP executives that the company would be bracing for “another tough quarter” in July.

Rival Dell (DELL, Fortune 500) is set to announce its quarterly earnings after the closing bell Tuesday. To top of page

Article source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/money_topstories/~3/7yFkkwQeHco/index.htm

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