HP Delivers Bad News for Tech Bears

Let the tech bears take it on the chin for a change. This morning, Silicon Valley stalwart Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) surprised analysts when it said it expected to earn $1.03 in adjusted fourth-quarter earnings. Wall Street had called for $1 per share, and the stock was up more than 13% in early trading.

Call it a sticky-sweet dish of revenge for our 120,000-plus Motley Fool CAPS community, which, collectively, gives HP four of the maximum five stars:

Metric

Hewlett-Packard

CAPS stars (out of 5)

****

Total ratings

2,586

Bullish ratings

2,410

Percent bulls

93.2%

Bearish ratings

176

Percent bears

6.8%

Bullish pitches

384

Bearish pitches

42

Data current as of Nov. 18, 2008.

"HPQ is currently trading at about half its industry peers, with a current P/E of ~10 and forward P/E of 7," wrote CAPS investor MarionContrarion about three weeks ago. "This discount overcompensates for overseas sale issues such as recent dollar strength and slowing economies. The stock is currently trading as if earnings will shrink 5% annually over the next 5 years, or be flat forever ... While not necessarily the bottom, I'm adding to my position here."

Good call. And a welcome change. The Valley hasn't exactly been brimming with good news. Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC  ) fourth-quarter outlook was weaker than expected. Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA  ) said it would lay off 6,000. VMware (NYSE: VMW  ) and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD  ) , via an options repricing program, could co-opt millions in shareholder capital. And, last night, Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) took the knife from slasher CEO Jerry Yang.

Hewlett-Packard bested them all, in part because of its now-completed deal for services giant EDS. It’s a strategy that makes HP a lot more like IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) and which, in Q4, supplied a tailwind of consulting revenue. Overall, HP's sales are expected to increase 19% before currency effects. Organically, revenue should improve 5% before accounting for currency.

Tech is dead? Not yet. Not even close. Eat green, bears.

Get your clicks with related Foolishness:

Intel is an Inside Value pick. VMware is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Try either of these market-beating services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe. The Fool owns shares of Intel as well as covered calls on Intel.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of IBM at the time of publication. Find all of his holdings here and a complete archive of his Foolish writings here. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy, like Stephen Colbert, enjoys a good bear beat-down from time to time.


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