Thursday morning was relatively quiet on Wall Street, as major market benchmarks posted modest gains. Investors once again had to confront the difficult economic realities of the coronavirus pandemic, with 2.1 million more first-time claims for unemployment benefits weighing on market sentiment. Nevertheless, many remain optimistic about the prospects for economic reopening in many locations to start pushing activity levels in the right direction. Just before 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 110 points to 25,658. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) rose 15 points to 3,051, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) picked up 51 points to reach 9,463.
The peak of earnings season is well past us now, but a few companies are still reporting their latest financial results. For tech giant HP (NYSE:HPQ), the news wasn't as good as many investors had hoped. However, even though the aerospace industry has taken a huge hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, Triumph Group (NYSE:TGI) managed to wow shareholders with a strong financial performance in the past few months.
HP isn't printing money for shareholders
HP's stock dropped more than 12% Thursday morning following the release of its fiscal second-quarter financial report late Wednesday afternoon. The tech company managed to take advantage of some opportunities that stemmed from the pandemic, but the ill effects on large parts of its business overshadowed those minor success stories.
Broadly speaking, HP's struggles were evident in its numbers. Net revenue was down 11% from year-earlier levels, and after accounting for extraordinary items, adjusted net income was off almost 10% year over year. Share repurchases limited the damage on a per-share basis, but even so, adjusted earnings per share fell 4% from where they were 12 months earlier.
HP got a minor boost from increased sales of portable personal computer systems like laptops and notebooks, as those working from home rushed to find computing solutions to stay connected to their workplaces. However, desktop sales volume plunged 23%. Moreover, with commercial offices closed, HP's printer business suffered badly, with segment revenue falling 19% from year-ago levels.
Investors also weren't pleased to see HP's outlook for the coming quarter, which was discouraging. Without more visibility about how long the effects of the pandemic could last, HP is having trouble inspiring confidence among its investor base.
A high-flyer in a grounded industry
Elsewhere, shares of Triumph Group soared 38%. The aerospace supplier hasn't been immune from the impacts of the pandemic on the airline industry, but investors were happy with what they saw in the company's fiscal fourth-quarter financial report.
Triumph certainly felt the impact of the deteriorating aerospace environment, as revenue dropped more than 20% from year-ago levels. However, investors had feared even worse from the aerospace and defense specialist, and even a drop of 40% in adjusted earnings per share left Triumph with a healthier bottom line than most had expected.
Today's move follows a 24% rise Wednesday, which stemmed from Triumph's announcement of more extensive restructuring and strategic efforts to shore up its business. A combination of layoffs, manufacturing facility consolidation, asset sales, and smart moves with supply customers has investors feeling more confident about Triumph's ability to make it through the pandemic.
Although Triumph's stock has more than doubled in the past two days, it's also down by more than half from where it traded as recently as mid-February. Initial signs are encouraging, but Triumph has a lot further to climb before it can reach cruising altitude again.