HP Will Feel Tech's Spending Pain

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - HP (HPQ) looks unlikely to dodge the spending bullet that has stricken its rivals when it reports its fourth-quarter results after market close on Tuesday.

Recent weeks have seen tech heavyweights such as Cisco  (CSCO) and IBM (IBM) wrestle with a tough IT spending environment, a trend which bodes ill for HP.

"Common themes for IT weakness have included softness in Federal spending, combined with weakness in China and emerging markets," wrote Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, in a note released this week. "We expect HP to highlight a soft IT spending environment."

Cantor Fitzgerald, however, is already modeling below average seasonality for the fourth quarter, so it doesn't anticipate a big miss from HP, which recently provided an earnings outlook for fiscal 2014.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for fourth-quarter revenue of $27.91 billion and earnings of $1 a share, compared to sales of $30 billion and earnings of $1.16 in the prior year's quarter.

HP is in the throes of a major restructuring effort, led by CEO Meg Whitman, who reiterated her desire to turn the firm's fortunes around during the company's last earnings conference call. Investors can expect to hear more of the same Tuesday.

Whitman already has won plaudits for her attempts to get HP back on track, specifically her transformation of the company's balance sheet. Investors have certainly warmed to this story, pushing the company's stock up more than 77% this year.

"HPQ heads into FY14 as the top-performer from a stock price perspective in our coverage universe," wrote ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall, in a recent note, citing balance sheet rebuilding, expense cuts and a "freshened up" product portfolio.

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