Earnings season is starting to look a bit long in the tooth, but our queue still contains some companies with bite to 'em. Tomorrow, one of the biggest names in personal computing -- Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) -- arrives on Wall Street to inform us of its fiscal Q2 2007 performance.

After the news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over H-P's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 28,000 investors for their views on well more than 4,000 companies, Hewlett-Packard among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
Just shy of 1,000 investors have submitted ratings on Hewlett-Packard. Their verdict: H-P gets a "C."

Nearly nine investors in 10 expect H-P to outperform the market. All-Star CAPS players are only a bit less enthusiastic, giving the company an 86% approval rating. But under our proprietary rating system, that's good for just three stars out of a possible five on CAPS.

Don't fret, though, H-P investors. Among PC makers, three stars is considered pretty good:

Personal Computers Group

CAPS Rating







Gateway (NYSE:GTW)




Wall Street vs. Main Street
By the barest of margins, H-P gets even more cheers on Wall Street than on Main. Out of the 13 H-P-rating analysts we track on CAPS, a full dozen expect it to outperform the market -- 92%. Are they right? Well, past performance may not guarantee future success, but the stock has outperformed the S&P 500 by a good 26 percentage points over the last 52 weeks.

Bull pitch
One statement summarizes the bullish thesis: "HP has turned the corner." With costs still being cut, and Dell's market share still being cut into, H-P enthusiasts have reason to feel optimistic. Theme-wise, the biggest theory in CAPS-land seems to revolve around renewed tech spending on wireless computers. Says one All-Star:

My thinking is that everyone is going to be making a similar decision as me in the near future and upgrading their computers (HP of course) and printers to be all connected. Will Dell catch up? How about [Lexmark (NYSE:LXK)]? Sure they will try [to] make inroads, but I think HP will keep their edge going forward.

Bear pitch
Scandal, scandal, scandal. Bears harp on H-P's spy-on-self saga incessantly. But does one botched leak investigation a bear thesis make? Argues one H-P skeptic:

The executive scandal is just indicative of total corruption inside HP. Since buying out CPQ [Compaq] and dropping the company's full name on products, the leadership at HP have shown little regard for anything related to heritage, quality, or morality. Leadership falters, innovation suffers, and quality drops. The magic is definitely gone here. Will die or be bought out within 10 years.

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fools who penned these thoughts, and explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Dell is a Motley Fool Inside Value and Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try either market-beating newsletter free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 999 out of nearly 29,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.