Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of beaten-down tech leader Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) have posted one of their largest gains in recent memory following a positive earnings report. Shares are up roughly 9% as of this writing.
So what: HP's fiscal first quarter came in with $28.4 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.82 per share. Although revenue was 6% lower than the year-ago quarter, it still handily beat Wall Street's lowball consensus of $27.8 billion. The $0.71 EPS consensus was soundly thrashed.
Looking ahead, HP now expects EPS in the $0.80 to $0.82 range for the second quarter and $3.40 to $3.60 for the full year. Both guidance ranges come in ahead of Wall Street's estimates, which sought $0.77 for the second quarter and $3.33 for the year.
Now what: The upper bound of HP's EPS guidance would bring the company roughly back to where it was after the awful year that was 2012, with its write-offs and writedowns and botched turnarounds and so forth. However, virtually every segment saw revenue decline year over year, with HP's financial services group the only one to show a top-line gain. A forward P/E of just 4.7 means that HP is undeniably cheap, and the stock offers a reasonable dividend as well. Gains from this point on may be driven more by a return to valuation means than by any fundamental improvements in HP's increasingly dated-looking business.