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expects to badly miss Wall Street's second-quarter consensus earnings forecast, citing the rapid slowdown in consumer information technology spending around the world.

The hardware company now expects to report a revenue decline between 2% and 4%, both sequentially and compared with the year-ago period, for the second fiscal quarter ending April 30.

Based on the slowdown in IT spending, H-P projected earnings of 13 cents to 17 cents a share for the quarter. The estimate includes about $150 million of inventory and capacity write-downs associated with some of the company's consumer products. According to

Thomson Financial/First Call

, analysts expect the company to earn 35 cents in the quarter.

"When we issued our previous second fiscal quarter guidance, we had limited visibility into the extent of the U.S. consumer and commercial downturn, its potential impact on other regions and the continuation of adverse currency effects," the company said in a statement. "At this time, it is quite clear that the U.S. downturn in the consumer market is now spreading to other regions, notably Europe."

H-P plans to take several steps to manage expenses, including the control of discretionary spending, requiring employees to take incremental days off and eliminating up to 3,000 management positions.

The company said it has limited visibility, "but current planning assumptions for the third quarter call for flat revenues sequentially and year-over-year, with gross margins trending up."

Shares of H-P closed

New York Stock Exchange

trading Tuesday at $29.25, and recently gained $1, or 3.4% to $30.25 in premarket