Bloomberg

HP Inc. (HPQ - Get Report) shares traded higher Friday after the personal computing group posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings and lifted its full-year profit guidance thanks to a steadying printing supplies division.

HP said earnings for the three months ending in April rose 10.4% to 53 cents per share, topping the Street consensus forecast of 51 cents per share. Group revenues also edged past analysts' forecasts, rising 0.2% from last year to $14 billion as personal systems sales rose 2% to $8.921 billion and operating margins improved to 4.3%. Printing supplies revenues fell 2% to $5.116 billion, but the decline slowed from the previous quarter's slide and operating margins improved to 16.4%.

Looking into the 2019 fiscal year, which ends in October, HP said it sees diluted earnings in the range of $2.04 to $2.11 per share, modestly higher than that $2.00 to $2.10 range forecast in February, and confirmed its free cash flow estimate of $3.7 billion. 

"We're taking very decisive actions on the plans that we outlined last quarter," CEO Dion Weisler told investors on a conference call late Thursday. "Since then, I've put a supplies task force as well as a global program office in place with a primary focus on EMEA and then to ensure consistency across all of the regions. We've identified and begun implementing several challenges already."

"We're upping our game in terms of brand protection," he added. "We're going to defend our brand as well as our intellectual property to ensure that our customers receive the quality, the benefits, the sustainability and environmental advantages that original HP supplies provide."

HP shares were marked 3.1% higher Friday to change hands at $19.81 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date decline to around 3%.

"Supplies remains our #1 focus, and we were encouraged by the early progress in addressing the issues around both changing customer consumption patterns and ~$100mn of excess channel inventory exiting F1Q," said Credit Suisse analyst Matthew Cabral. "Continued execution will be key, as we think it will take time for investors to regain confidence in the steady-state outlook for Supplies, particularly as these factors mask the underlying consumption patterns for at
least the balance of FY19."