HP Inc. Shares Off as J.P. Morgan Sees Catalysts Lacking

J.P. Morgan downgrades HP Inc. to neutral from overweight due in part to a "lackluster outlook" for printing.
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HP Inc.  (HPQ) - Get Report shares were tumbling Thursday after J.P. Morgan downgraded the printer and computer maker to neutral from overweight.

Shares of the Palo Alto, Calif., company were at last check down 11% to $15.18.

Analyst Paul Coster also cut his price target to $20 from $21.

"We are downgrading HPQ to neutral on lack of catalysts, following a fiscal-second-quarter print that basically met low expectations with positives in the personal systems segment offset by setbacks in the printer segment, and a lackluster outlook for printing in the fiscal third quarter," Coster said in a note to clients.

On Wednesday, HP Inc. issued fiscal third-quarter earnings profit guidance between 39 cents and 45 cents a share, while Wall Street expected the company to report 49 cents a share. 

This was the first earnings release for HP since Xerox  (XRX) - Get Report dropped its hostile takeover bid for HP in late March. 

Coster said that in the context of unprecedented uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's understandable that the company will delay planned leveraged buybacks.

But absent this catalyst, he added, "there isn’t much reason to add to positions in this stock through year-end given tough second half year-over-year comps for the [Personal Systems] segment, and ongoing declines in the Printer segment."

In addition, Citibank analyst Jim Suva, who has a neutral rating on the company, said HPQ’s “outlook was softer than expected.” 

Suva said near-term PC and home print trends are benefiting from work-from-home situations, but “this will be a pull forward in PC demand from the second half” and he's “skeptical if office printing will return to pre-covid-19 levels.”

UBS Securities, which has a neutral rating on the company, lowered its price target to $17 from $22.50.

In addition, Wells Fargo’s Aaron Rakers said HPQ reported what “investors will consider net-negative results with covid-induced supply-chain issues resulting in PC and printer supply and hardware constraints.” He has an equal-weight rating on the company with a $20 price target.