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HP Investors Heave Sigh of Relief, but Challenges Remain

Baird Equity Research analyst Jayson Noland said he expects further weakness in in HP's Services business during the second half of fiscal 2013. He maintained his 'neutral' rating on the company.

"HPQ shares have rebounded with stabilizing fundamentals and a better equity market, but we prefer to stay on the sidelines given remaining concerns on secular and competitive challenges," he wrote, in a note released on Friday.

HP, which describes fiscal 2013 as a "fix and rebuild" year, has at least made some slow progress, according to ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall. The company's overhaul of its multi-function printers, new storage products and advances in its networking technology could bear fruit in the second half of the year, he said.

Nonetheless, the analyst maintained his 'neutral' rating on the ailing tech titan, citing weakness in PCs and printing that shows no sign of abating, as well as lackluster growth in areas such as software and services.

HP investors may have welcomed the company's first-quarter results, but there's clearly more pain ahead.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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