Is This Tech Stock Cheap?

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) chief executive Mark Hurd wants you to think of HP as a growth company. Or, at the very least, a better grower than its tech peers.

Hurd told the crowd at HP's annual analyst day that the company would grow faster than the overall market, if the tech market continues to show signs of life, The Wall Street Journal reported.

For the fiscal year beginning Nov. 1, Hurd projected $117 billion to $118 billion in revenue, roughly in line with what Wall Street expects, but a lower $3.60 to $3.70 per share in non-GAAP earnings.

Investors who are skeptical of Hurd's bullishness have a right to be. Fiscal-third-quarter revenue from HP's computer business fell 18%. Store and servers fell 23%, and software was down 22%. Why should we believe HP will turn itself around? Hurd says HP is leaner and well-prepared for the bounce off the tech market's sales bottom.

"We feel in the end, we're pretty well positioned to go out in the marketplace and win ... HP's best days are ahead of it, not behind it," he told analysts during the presentation.

Investors had better hope so. While HP is nowhere near as expensive as growth-grabbers like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , at 16 times trailing earnings, HP is more expensive than services rivals IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN  ) , and is only a shade cheaper than Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) .

Our 140,000-member Motley Fool CAPS community has mixed feelings when it comes to this stock, giving it a lukewarm three-star rating:

Metric

Hewlett-Packard

Recent price

$47.02

CAPS stars (out of 5)

***

Total ratings

2,858

Percent bulls

92.7%

Percent bears

7.3%

ROE (trailing 12 months)

18.3%

% Above 52-week low

85.2%

Sources: CAPS, Yahoo! Finance. Data current as of Sept. 25.

Even so, bullish investors such as CAPS' benistpope point out that HP is still one of the leaders in technology infrastructure, a position it's likely to retain for some time:

In the tech industry, HP has an incredibly strong line of servers. They spend a lot of marketing money on technical sessions with customers and potential customers, and have aligned themselves very strongly with [VMware (NYSE: VMW  ) ]. VMWare is playing well in the networking world with Cisco, which brings the HP / VMWare partnership more coverage. HP has also aligned with Cisco in the 10G switching market, choosing to rebrand the Cisco 5K series of Nexus switches. 10G networking and a strong VM play will push blade-server sales.

Do you agree? Would you buy HP at today's prices? Let us know by signing up for CAPS today. It's 100% free to participate.

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Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Accenture and Dell are Inside Value picks. VMware is a Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in IBM at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is done for the day. Out.


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