What happened

Shares of HP Inc. (NYSE:HPQ) rose 15.4% in February 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

The big jump came late in the month. HP reported first-quarter 2017 results on Feb. 22, leaving Wall Street's estimates far behind despite modest revenue growth and flat earnings. Investors chose to ignore a gloomy slate of second-quarter guidance targets, and share prices soared as much as 10% higher the next day.

The HP EliteBook x360 laptop cum tablet.

Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? The HP EliteBook x360 is actually both. Image source: HP.

Now what

The consumer-friendly half of the old Hewlett-Packard empire sure fared better than its business computing cousin in this round of business updates. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) reported its own results later that week -- and that stock promptly fell 9.4% on the news.

The biggest surprise in these diverging paths is that HP Inc.'s strong results did not come from its semi-corporate printing division. Instead, they rested on solid sales of consumer-grade PC systems. In particular, notebook sales are booming these days, even if the PC market was supposed to have died years ago.

That being said, both HP Inc. and HP Enterprise have rewarded their investors generously since going their separate ways, with both stocks rising more than 45% over the last year. Still, they trade at very reasonable price-to-earnings ratios and could easily move even higher. The two halves of Hewlett-Packard may indeed be greater separately than the sum of the parts ever were together.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.