HP Delivers Again

HP continued to be the most consistent story in technology Thursday, posting quarterly results and guidance after the close that once again topped Wall Street’s expectations.

It was the ninth straight quarter that HP has beaten analysts’ estimates.

Continuing its two-year turnaround, HP’s October quarter sales rose 7% to $24.6 billion, $500 million ahead of estimates, and earnings of 68 cents a share were 4 cents better than expected.

Personal systems sales grew 10%, with units shipped up 16%. Notebook sales grew 24%, while desktop revenues were flat.

Printing and imaging sales climbed 7%, while enterprise storage and server revenues were 4% higher than the year-ago quarter. Services were up 5% and software 14%.

For the January quarter, HP forecast sales of $24.1-$24.3 billion and earnings of 60-62 cents a share, ahead of $23.9 billion and 60-cent expectations.

The company also offered guidance of $97 billion in sales for fiscal 2007, which ends next October, and earnings of $2.48-$2.53 a share. Analysts were looking for $96 billion and $2.48.

HP also said that the SEC inquiry into its boardroom leak scandal has become a formal investigation.

HP’s shares, up 40% so far this year, traded fractionally higher after hours.

Stocks rose once again Thursday, as traders overlooked disappointing technology earnings news to focus on tame consumer inflation and falling oil prices.

Dell fell 2.5% after delaying its results because of an SEC investigation, and Applied Materials fell 3.6% after missing estimates and lowering guidance.

Network Appliance jumped 5% after beating estimates and reaffirming guidance, while BEA fell 16% after missing sales estimates.

Rambus soared 30% on hopes for a favorable FTC ruling.

Allot jumped in its debut.

The Nasdaq climbed 6 to 2449, the S&P 500 added 3 to 1399, and the Dow rose 54 to 12,305. Volume declined to 2.81 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.12 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 17-15 on the NYSE, and by a few issues on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 62% on the NYSE, and 56% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 348-15 on the NYSE, and 226-35 on the Nasdaq.

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