Why Hewlett-Packard Shares Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of beaten-down tech leader Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) have posted one of their largest gains in recent memory following a positive earnings report. Shares are up roughly 9% as of this writing.

So what: HP's fiscal first quarter came in with $28.4 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.82 per share. Although revenue was 6% lower than the year-ago quarter, it still handily beat Wall Street's lowball consensus of $27.8 billion. The $0.71 EPS consensus was soundly thrashed.

Looking ahead, HP now expects EPS in the $0.80 to $0.82 range for the second quarter and $3.40 to $3.60 for the full year. Both guidance ranges come in ahead of Wall Street's estimates, which sought $0.77 for the second quarter and $3.33 for the year.

Now what: The upper bound of HP's EPS guidance would bring the company roughly back to where it was after the awful year that was 2012, with its write-offs and writedowns and botched turnarounds and so forth. However, virtually every segment saw revenue decline year over year, with HP's financial services group the only one to show a top-line gain. A forward P/E of just 4.7 means that HP is undeniably cheap, and the stock offers a reasonable dividend as well. Gains from this point on may be driven more by a return to valuation means than by any fundamental improvements in HP's increasingly dated-looking business.

The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP's rapidly shifting its strategy under the new leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor blip on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.


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