NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Call me crazy, but despite the prolonged struggles of tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report), I still like the prospect of the company -- better yet, I love the outlook of a possible turnaround story that I believe still exists.
Call it delusional or even a case of emotional attachment. However, when assessing the value of the stock, astute investors need to ask themselves one very important question -- If you don't like HP now, when will you ever? The answer is, when it no longer makes sense. Because now is the time.
The company is chronically punished for being a leader of a dying PC industry -- I get that. What's more, the dominance of
(AAPL - Get Report)
(GOOG - Get Report)
(AMZN - Get Report)
continues to turn what used to be a good "glass-half-full" narrative for HP into more of an "empty glass."
HP does not have to be Apple
to be good. It just needs to figure out a way to be a better
(IBM - Get Report)
-- a model that is more realistic and reflective of what the company already does well. It only needs a little bit more time -- a commodity that investors would be wise to use their advantage.
Making a play on the stock at these levels might be a smart move. At $17 the stock should easily trade north of $20 by the end of the year. With a price-to-earnings ratio of 6 it is clear that Wall Street continues to expect very little from HP, suggesting there is little risk in the shares at the moment.
After all, it is very rare to find the combination of value with minimal downside exposure. This is what the stock now offers -- even though the company's recent earnings report let some of the air out of its sails.
But then again, HP was no speedboat to begin with. For the most part, the company delivered precisely what was expected -- very little.
In its recent third-quarter earnings report for the period ending in July, HP logged a loss of $8.86 billion which includes a writedown of its enterprise-services unit. It met its earlier profit guidance of $1 per share on revenue of $29.7 billion which met analysts' expectations. In looking at its divisions, sales dropped 3.1% in its services business to $8.75 billion while its printing business retraced by 2.7% to just over $6 billion.