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Don't Dive Into Hewlett-Packard Just Yet


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Although I haven't led the charge proclaiming Meg Whitman's candidacy for CEO of the year, investors who bought Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) stock at the beginning of 2013 have every reason to cast their ballots for her.

Not only are HP shares up well over 70% on the year, but they are up 115% when dating back to the lows of last November. But here's the thing: If you expand this reflective horizon back six additional months to May 2, 2012, the stock has traded flat, at best.

Other than a few cost-related improvements undertaken, I don't believe HP is any better off today than a year ago. Investors who want to place a bet expecting more gains are also wagering Whitman has completely turned things around.

But given the recent second-quarter results, there are still plenty of underlying issues that need fixing.

As with Nokia (NOK), which has undertaken significant cost-cutting measures and other restructuring efforts, HP certainly looks thinner. Unfortunately, so does revenue, which declined again this quarter by 10% year over year and 3% sequentially.

PC revenue fell 20%. I wasn't surprised by this given the report released earlier in the quarter by IDC that worldwide PC demand had dropped 13%. Nevertheless, the struggles in HP's PC business were noticeably weaker than rivals such as Lenovo (LNVGY), which posted only a slight year-over-year decrease in its PC business, which still led to Lenovo acquiring an additional 3% in global PC market share, according to IDC.

Meanwhile, although Dell (DELL) was far from an outperformer, Dell's PC unit posted only a 9% revenue decline. While I'm willing to be a little patient here with HP for its PC deficits, there are other areas of the business that raise some red flags.

For instance, the 37% decline in Business Critical Systems was certainly discouraging. Not to mention the 3% decline in tech services. It certainly seems as if HP is losing share to Dell, which posted a 10% year-over-year increase in its enterprise division. For that matter, Dell managed 12% growth in its non-PC side of its business.

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