A Big Upgrade for Hewlett-Packard

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After spending much of the past six months at a mediocre three-star rank, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) has impressed enough top-performing members of our 165,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community to climb up to four stars. A total of 3,281 members have given their opinion on the technology giant, with many of them offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

Shares of HP have been under pressure lately with several issues bubbling to the surface -- the abrupt exit of CEO Mark Hurd, worries of slowing corporate spending and the specter of falling PC demand are top of mind with many investors. But some CAPS members have taken the opportunity to give a bullish outlook on the stock, with some believing the recent fall is overdone.

While not earth-shattering, company operations are still humming as HP recently reported a 6% increase in fiscal third-quarter earnings and an 11% jump in sales. Despite some cautious commentary on economic uncertainty from Cisco's (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) CEO following its recent earnings release, HP said it hasn't seen any troubles worth noting in its fiscal third quarter and is sticking with its fourth-quarter sales and earnings forecasts.

Just as increasing demand was recently reported by storage firms EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) and NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP  ) , HP saw its storage and sever revenue grow 19% in the quarter while PC revenue grew 17%. In contrast to some glum forecasts, competitor Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) saw similar PC demand and expects continuing demand for PCs from corporate customers for the next several quarters. HP also still has big plans for the tablet market, where it plans to launch a Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) product in the near future and a Palm WebOS product early next year.

Ousted CEO Mark Hurd has been credited for taking HP in the right direction and making big moves like buying services firm EDS to better compete with IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) . But the company said it plans to continue with its same strategy that's been in place for the last several years, and some CAPS members are betting that it will continue making progress under new leadership.

Do you think Hewlett-Packard deserves its raised status? Add your thoughts in the comments box below on this page, or head over to CAPS to rate the company and check out all the information and opinions the community offers, absolutely free.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock recently upgraded the dead houseplant with a much more visually stimulating artificial version. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Microsoft is an Inside Value selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool's disclosure policy wildly chases bubbles down to pop them before they float away.

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