Can HP Help Right Stocks?

HP posted quarterly results late Monday that soundly beat analysts’ estimates, but after another rough day in the stock market, investors didn’t seem to be in much of a mood to cheer.

HP’s sales rose 15% to $28.3 billion, well ahead of $27.4 billion Thomson Financial estimates, and earnings of 86 cents a share were four cents ahead of expectations. The company also raised current quarter and full-year guidance above forecasts, showing none of the cautiousness of its rivals in recent weeks.

Notebook sales were up 49%, software sales doubled, and storage and server sales rose 10%. Imaging and printing revenues were up 4%.

The company also said it saw no weakness in sales to consumers or financial services companies.

But after falling 2.6% during the day, HP shares gained just 1% after hours, as investors fretted over decelerating U.S. sales.

Stocks plunged during the day after Goldman Sachs downgraded Citigroup shares to “sell” on continued credit market concerns.

EchoStar gained 19% on reports that it will likely be acquired by AT&T.

Amazon added 1% on a new wireless reading device, and Qualcomm and Research In Motion also posted modest gains, but the bulk of technology stocks fell on the day.

The Nasdaq lost 44 to 2593, the S&P fell 25 to 1433, and the Dow tumbled 218 to 12,958. Volume declined to 4.12 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.2 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 28-5 margin on the NYSE, and 24-6 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 90% on the NYSE, and 84% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 37-545 on the NYSE, and 50-362 on the Nasdaq.

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