The Aircraft Carrier Hewlett-Packard Begins Its Turn (Video)
Shares of Hewlett-Packard are heading up this morning on the heels of yesterday’s chock-full report, which included earnings that beat expectations and details of a restructuring plan that will see the company slash about 27,000 jobs over two years.
HP shares rose nearly 5 percent to $22.10, up $1.02 as of 11:15 am ET. Investors appear to be showing new confidence in HP and how CEO Meg Whitman is running the show. All the announcements that HP made yesterday bear repeating, because it was a busy afternoon:
Update: A few readers have written to point out I was wrong about HP’s old ticker symbol. It wasn’t HP but HWP. Silly me. Even so, if the Compaq name is headed for some lesser level of importance in HP’s future, then perhaps the Q in the ticker symbol, which was added as a nod to Compaq’s old symbol CPQ, to give the impression that the combination was more a merger of equals, should go. Given the choice between them, I would vote for HP. I should stress that I have zero indications that this is even under consideration, and is really just me ruminating.
Analysts had a mixed view. Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank Securities has been one of the more skeptical voices on HP’s turnaround prospects. “New sheriff, old game plan,” was the headline on his note to clients today. “We remain cautious on HP’s weak fundamentals, challenging macro conditions and deteriorating cash flow,” he wrote. Despite the beat on earnings, free cash flow — at $1.4 billion in the quarter — declined by half, pointing to what Whitmore calls “very poor earnings quality.” He rates HP as a “sell,” with a $20 price target.
Brent Bracelin of Pacific Crest Securities wrote that he remains unconvinced that an unexpected strength in HP’s PC unit is sustainable. “Apple and Samsung now account for 39 percent of market share across PCs, tablets and smartphones, and have a volume advantage relative to HP’s 6 percent share,” he wrote in a note to clients this morning. He rates the shares “market perform,” or neutral, and worries that HP’s biggest problem is that about half its sales are still tied to PCs and printers.
Whitman took to CNBC this morning to talk about HP’s situation. She portrayed the turnaround under way as about “10 to 15 percent” complete. That means there’s still a lot of work to do ahead. “We’ve laid a lot of pipe and done a lot of groundwork,” Whitman told the network’s anchors in a 13-minute appearance. I’ve embedded it below: