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HP: Expect More PC Pressure

Stocks in this article: HPQ DELL MSFT AAPL CSCO

HP, of course, is still in the throes of a major restructuring effort, as CEO Meg Whitman attempts to turn the company's fortunes around. Last month Whitman started to flesh out this plan, but warned that it will take at least another three years.

Speaking at a securities analyst meeting in New York, Whitman described fiscal 2012 as a "diagnosis and foundation" year, with fiscal 2013 a "fix and rebuild" year. "Recovery and expansion," "acceleration" and "industry-leading competition" will characterize the years 2014 through 2016.

Highlighting the scale of the challenge facing HP, however, the company expanded its previously-announced job cuts in September.

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White expects HP to meet his revised fourth-quarter forecast of $30.43 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.14 a share. The analyst, however, has longer-term concerns about the tech giant.

"In our view, HP's restructuring initiative is a move in the right direction," he wrote, in a note. "However, we remain concerned with the Company's high exposure to Europe (EMEA at 36% in 3QFY12), competitiveness in the PC market (29% of 3QFY12), leveraged balance sheet and longer-term relevance in the enterprise IT market given the Company's current portfolio."

Whitman certainly has her work cut out. From intensifying competition with Apple (AAPL) in PCs, and a rejuvenated Cisco (CSCO) in servers and networking, HP's vast product portfolio necessitates an aggressive war on multiple fronts.

To aid this effort, the CEO has already discussed plans to streamline HP's bewildering array of products, reconnect with channel partners, consolidate marketing and improve internal IT systems.

HP shares climbed 3.5% to close at $13.30 on Monday, but dipped 0.08% in extended trading.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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