Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ - Get Report) just beat Wall Street's revenue estimates Monday, but it saw its fourth-quarter earnings slip from a year earlier. Shares of H-P were down 20 cents, or less than 1%, to $35.30 in after-hours trading. The computer manufacturer's net income was $2.11 billion, or 84 cents a share, down slightly from $2.16 billion, or 81 cents a share, in the same period last year. Excluding special charges, earnings were $1.03 a share. Analysts were looking for $1.01 a share. Revenue at the Palo Alto, Calif., tech company rose 19% to $33.6 billion, from $28.2 billion for the same quarter of last year. Analysts were expecting $33.32 billion. The result was not completely out of the blue after H-P recently confirmed that its fourth quarter earnings and revenue would top analysts' estimates. In a statement, H-P's CEO Mark Hurd attributed the growth largely to the company's services business and "disciplined" expense management. "Our global reach, broad portfolio, numerous cost initiatives and consistent execution differentiate H-P," he said. Adjusted for the effects of currency, H-P's revenue grew 16% year-over-year. Excluding revenue from the company's EDS acquisition, revenue grew 5% year-over-year or 2% when adjusted for the effects of currency exchange rates. H-P's printer business proved to be one of the most problematic parts of the company's fourth quarter, with the firm experiencing a 1% decline in its revenue. This was offset somewhat, however, by growth in H-P's Personal Systems Group, where revenue grew 10%.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2009, H-P projected revenue of $32 billion to $32.5 billion and EPS, before items, of 93 cents to 95 cents a share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $32.75 billion and earnings, less items, of 91 cents a share. The company also reported annual revenue of $118.4 billion, just above analysts' estimate of $118.08 billion. For fiscal 2009, H-P expects revenue of $127.5 billion to $130 billion. Analysts had estimated $130.56 billion. H-P, which competes with Dell ( DELL), Lenovo and Apple ( AAPL - Get Report) in hardware, and with IBM ( IBM - Get Report) in services, recently declared a regular cash dividend of 8 cents a share.