And Dell said two weeks ago that Ron Garriques, the president of the group responsible for its first forays into smart phones and tablets, is leaving the company. The week before that, it completed the acquisition of Perot Systems Corp. Still, both firms reported strong quarterly results this month and got broad backing from Wall Street analysts. H-P and Dell exceeded analysts' expectations, propelling their shares as their peers suffered in a technology pullback. Of the 39 Wall Street analysts that follow H-P, 19 have it rated "buy," 17 "hold" and three "sell," according to Bloomberg. Among the positive factors supporting the buy ratings are H-P's low price-to-trailing-earnings ratio (P/E) of 11.8 versus the average of 35 for its industry group and the 20.8 P/E of the S&P 500. It also has strong cash flow, as indicated by a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 23.5 versus the average of 102.5 for its industry peers.
Among the 38 analysts that follow Dell, 28 have a "buy" rating, nine a "hold" and one a "sell." The company has a P/E of 17.6, half that of its industry group, and its price-to-cash-flow ratio is even less than H-P's.