HP Investors Look For Growth

HP investors have cheered the company’s turnaround this year, sending the stock 30% higher and making it the best-performing Dow stock during a flat year for the index.

But on Tuesday, investors let the company know that while the turnaround has been terrific, they now want to see sustained growth.

Shares of HP fell 3% after the company’s fiscal 2006 sales outlook was less than analysts were looking for. HP said it expects 2006 revenues of $89.5-$91 billion, at the low end of Wall Street’s $90.9 billion consensus forecast. Still, thanks to the company’s restructuring efforts, the company’s earnings guidance of $1.88-$1.95 a share was well above $1.82 estimates.

But with sales expected to grow at about a 5% annual rate over the next two years, investors let CEO Mark Hurd know at his first analyst day that the hard work is just beginning.

The broader market rose Tuesday after the Federal Reserve suggested that interest rates are approaching neutral, which traders took as a sign that the Fed’s 18-month rate hike campaign may finally be drawing to a close.

The Nasdaq rose 4 to 2265, the S&P 500 climbed 7 to 1267, and the Dow gained 56 to 10,823. Volume rose to 2.4 billion shares on the NYSE, and 1.91 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 18-14 on the NYSE, while decliners led 15-14 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 60% on the NYSE, and 51% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 179-168 on the NYSE, and 117-43 on the Nasdaq.

IBM lost 2.6% on negative comments from Citigroup about services bookings.

Gateway lost 8% on a class action lawsuit.

Diodes climbed 12% after raising guidance.

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