Here’s 1 Hewlett-Packard Catalyst You May Have Forgotten

Intel's strong PC guidance is great for Hewlett-Packard, but 3-D printing could be even bigger.

Jun 16, 2014 at 11:05AM

Investors are buying shares of Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) following bullish PC guidance from Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), and rightfully so. Yet, while investors ponder the implications of this news for Hewlett-Packard, 3-D printing is a forgotten, and possibly even bigger, catalyst for HP, which could take shares higher and put more pressure on 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD).

There's more to HP than PCs
On Friday, HP shares soared over 5% and Intel's increased nearly 7%, after the latter boosted second-quarter revenue guidance by $700 million to $13.7 billion on higher PC demand. This is clearly a good sign for HP, which generates nearly 30% of its business from PCs.

The fact that HP and Intel trade at nine and 14 times forward earnings, respectively, means they're relatively cheap, which serves as a key reason that both shares have soared higher. Moreover, with more than half of Intel's revenue created from PC-related chips, this new-found demand could be a good long-term sign. But, HP investors have seemingly forgotten the company's other segments, specifically printing, which could push shares to a much higher level.

Why is printing so important?
In HP's last quarter, printing revenue declined 4% year over year and accounted for 21% of its $27.3 billion in total revenue. Therefore, it's about equal in size to HP's hardware and services segments, but noticeably smaller than PCs. Yet, perhaps the most telling metric is 42%, which according to the company, is the percentage of operating profit that comes from HP's printing segment.

Hp Printing Revenue

Source: HP Q2 2014 Earnings Presentation

This means that printing is the company's most valuable asset, although it's losing business by the quarter, and HP is now seeking a method to recreate gains in this segment. According to CEO Meg Whitman, this growth and resurgence could come from 3-D printing. This is based on the announcement earlier this year that HP will enter the 3-D printing market for businesses. HP estimates that worldwide sales of 3-D printers and related software and services will grow from $2.2 billion in 2012 to $11 billion in 2021.

It's important to note that HP is not focusing on the consumer 3D-printing business, but rather the enterprise, which is conveniently driving sales of PCs higher. 3D Systems is perhaps the best illustration of what HP could capture in this market -- a strong presence with other businesses.

In the last 12 months, 3D Systems has generated revenue of $559 million and is expected to grow 39% this year. Its operating margin of 13% is much higher than HP's 7.7% margin, which, along with growth, serves as a key indication for why HP is interested in entering this space.

Moreover, 3-D printing companies like 3D Systems have had to compete with peers of similar size, but never a juggernaut like HP. Thus, HP's move into the space might move its stock in the right direction, but could cause significant headwinds for smaller 3-D printing names.

Albeit, Hewlett-Packard is prepared to enter the 3-D printing space with the largest market share in 2-D printing and a strong ecosystem of clients that use its PCs, hardware, and software. Hence, implementing 3-D printers shouldn't be a difficult task for the company, and with $15 billion in cash on its balance sheet, it's not a risky venture, either.

Foolish thoughts
Due to the margins and growth associated with 3-D printing, it is an arena that could drive HP's stock significantly higher by noticeably increasing the company's bottom line. Despite Hewlett-Packard's 157% stock gains since 2013, shares still trade at just 12 times trailing 12-month earnings, versus a 19 times earnings ratio for the S&P 500.

Hewlett-Packard is priced for long-term gains, and while the return of PC growth is a massive move in the right direction, 3-D printing might be the biggest stock-moving catalyst of the next several years.

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Brian Nichols has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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