HP Turnaround Progressing as Profit Forecast Tops Estimates
Comment of the Day

February 22 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

HP Turnaround Progressing as Profit Forecast Tops Estimates

This article by Aaron Ricadela for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section
Both companies are being dogged by a decline in PC demand. Shipments fell 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter, market researcher Gartner Inc. said. The rise of smartphones, tablets and software that runs via a browser are crimping sales.

There have been some bright spots for Hewlett-Packard in the computer market. Its share of fast-growing ultrathin notebooks was 14 percent in the fourth quarter, according to IDC, second only to Apple Inc. Whitman has also said the company will eventually re-enter the smartphone market, after discontinuing phones using software from its Palm Inc. acquisition in 2011.

The week before Valentine's Day, Hewlett-Packard convened its top 1,100 managers in Anaheim, California for a meeting to see the company's latest products. Starbucks Corp.'s CEO Howard Schultz and Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation SKG, spoke at the event.

“The hope is that this is the floor and they've gotten a grip on the business,” said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. Wu has a neutral rating on the shares. “They're giving guidance that actually makes sense.”

Eoin Treacy's view There has been an increasing diversification between the winners and losers in the technology sector. Those that have failed to keep pace with the rapidly evolving demands of a social media obsessed consumer base have languished while the leaders have taken on iconic status.

However, despite the fact that some of these long established companies have pulled back so violently, it would be a mistake to write them off. They have long experience of the sector, substantial capital to deploy and manufacturing prowess that allows adaption provided they can assert the management vision to make it happen. (Also see Comment of the Day on January 21st)

Hewlett Packard rallied impressively from its November low to close its overextension relative to the 200-day MA. It paused in the region of the trend mean for much of the last couple of months and broke upwards today to reassert demand dominance. A countermanding downward dynamic would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside.

Xerox rallied to break a more than yearlong progression of lower rally highs by late January and has been consolidating above the 200-day MA since. A sustained move below the trend mean would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside.

Research in Motion rallied impressively from its September lows but has experienced high volatility over the last month. Provided it finds support above $80, recovery potential can be given the benefit of the doubt.

While not a manufacturer, Yahoo is also worthy of mention. It rallied to test the upper side of its four-year base by December and spent much of the last couple of months consolidating. A sustained move below $120 would be required to begin to question medium-term scope for additional upside.

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