Can HP, NetApp Keep Rally Going?

Quarterly earnings reports from HP (NYSE: HPQ) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) next week could provide critical insight into the health of IT spending.

HP is expected by analysts to report earnings of 90 cents a share on a 2.8 percent decline in sales to $27.24 billion, according to Thomson Reuters, but those numbers would be a lot worse without the addition of the EDS services business.

Given the breadth of HP’s business, the company’s results will also offer important insights into other IT sectors like the PC, printer, server and storage businesses.

NetApp, meanwhile, has held up better than the rest of the data storage sector, and is expected to report just a 4.8 percent decline in sales to $827 million. Storage giant EMC (NYSE: EMC) reported an 11 percent sales decline last month.

Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) is another tech name reporting results next week, and its report should provide insight into the state of storage and IP network spending.

Stocks fell Friday on another decline in consumer sentiment, led lower by consumer-oriented names like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY).

Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) and Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) managed to post healthy gains, while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) also managed to escape the sell-off.

Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) was up 5 percent on its earnings report.

The chip sector was weak, with Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT) and Micron (NYSE: MU) off more than 3 percent each, but Rambus (NASDAQ: RMBS) jumped 12 percent on indications that a lawsuit against Micron and others could go to trial next month.

The Nasdaq fell 23 to 1985, the S&P 500 lost 8 to 1004, and the Dow dropped 76 to 9321. Volume declined to 4.94 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.97 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 26-10 margin on the NYSE, and 21-6 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 79 percent on the NYSE, and 75 percent on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 63-41 on the NYSE, and 23-7 on the Nasdaq.

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