HP Exceeds Expectations

HP surprised Wall Street in Mark Hurd’s first quarter as CEO with better than expected results.

Still, Hurd said the company’s results still leave much to be desired — and said the company will soon announce plans to do just that.

“HP had a solid quarter,” Hurd said in a statement. “Nevertheless, our overall performance leaves room for improvement in many of our businesses. We expect to provide details as soon as our plans are finalized that will move us toward that objective.”

HP reported April quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, a penny better than expected, and revenues rose 7% to $21.6 billion. The company said it expects July quarter earnings of 29-31 cents a share — below forecasts — but revenue guidance of $20.3-$20.7 billion was in-line to above expectations.

The company’s growth was driven by server and services sales. Storage sales declined 6%, and personal systems and printers and imaging grew in the mid-single digits.

Hurd sounded an upbeat note on the conference call, saying the company’s brand name, customer loyalty and employees “give me great hope.”

Shares of HP climbed 4% in after hours trading.

Also after the close, Applied Materials beat estimates but warned, and Red Envelope missed estimates and warned.

Stocks posted strong gains during the day despite rising wholesale inflation and falling industrial production, as a U.S. Treasury report on China eased fears of a trade war and raised hope for a yuan devaluation.

The Nasdaq rose 9 to 2004, the S&P 500 climbed 8 to 1173, and the Dow gained 79 to 10,331. Volume rose to 1.89 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.57 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 20-12 on the NYSE, and 16-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 75% on the NYSE, and 59% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 59-62 on the NYSE, and 42-77 on the Nasdaq.

Agilent rose 4% on its results, while Sonic Solutions lost 7.6% on its earnings report.

Oracle slipped after CFO Jeff Henley said the company is ready to consider another major acquisition.

Corning declined after the company said it sees demand weakening.

Shanda Interactive slipped on its results.

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