Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Sustains Gains on CEO Optimism

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares popped early Thursday, rising 2.4% to $23.14, following gains of almost 9% on Wednesday following CEO Meg Whitman's optimistic forecast at the company's annual briefing.

Whitman assured investors that HP would "stabilize" in fiscal 2014 and accelerate growth in fiscal 2015, in line with the computer and printer maker's turnaround plans. HP is anticipating a 3.1% revenue drop in fiscal 2014, compared with a 7.7% drop in 2013. The company's operating costs are almost in positive territory after it reduced operating net debt by $8 billion over the 12 months to October.

The company will return at least 50% of fiscal 2014 free cash flow to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Free cash flow is expected in the range of $6 billion to $6.5 billion.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Hewlett-Packard Co as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow."

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