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HP: Expect PC Pressure

Despite the soft PC spending environment, though, HP has indicated earnings upside. Earlier this month, the tech giant raised its third-quarter earnings guidance, projecting a profit of at least $1 a share, compared to its prior outlook of 94 to 97 cents a share.

Investors welcomed the news, injecting some much-needed life into HP's stock. Shares of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, which have tumbled more than 24% so far this year, are up almost 3% since its outlook hike.

Baird analyst Noland, however, remains unmoved. "We would view near-term EPS strength as temporary and driven by opex reductions associated with the accelerated restructuring," he explained.

When it raised its guidance, HP also updated the amount of the third-quarter pretax charge related to its recent restructuring program. The company now expects to record a charge of approximately $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion, up from its prior estimate of approximately $1 billion. The change was driven primarily by a higher-than-anticipated acceptance rate of HP's retirement program and faster-than-expected implementation of the firm's workforce reduction plan.

"Given our expectations for a sales shortfall, we believe cost reductions and expense controls were necessary to drive better than expected EPS performance," notes Topeka Capital Markets' White, who believes the company will fall short of his overall revenue forecast of $30.28 billion.

HP shares dipped 2.91% to $19.35 on Wednesday. Dell's stock was plunging 6.6% to $11.52.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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