Updated with HP's announcement it would release earnings Tuesday morningNEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) slumped in late trades after the company's top executive telegraphed a lackluster quarter to upper-level management, according to multiple media reports. Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker reportedly circulated a letter on May 4 saying HP is in for "another tough quarter" and stressing the necessity of "watching every penny," Barron's said.
Bloomberg initially reported the memo, quoting Apotheker as saying the company's existing headcount plans are "unaffordable given the pressures on our business." HP moved it earnings report up to Tuesday morning; it was originally scheduled for after the markets closed on Wednesday. The stock was last quoted at $37.80, down 5%, on after-hours volume of 1.4 million, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on Monday's regular session close at $39.80, the shares have fallen 4% since the start of 2011. HP reported its fiscal first-quarter results on Feb. 22, and forecast non-GAAP earnings of $1.19 to $1.21 per share for its fiscal second quarter ended in April. At the time, that view was below Wall Street's consensus estimate of $1.25 a share. Wall Street is still pretty bullish on the Dow component with 26 of the 35 analysts covering the stock rating it at either strong buy (11) or buy (15).