Investors will be closely monitoring

Hewlett-Packard's

(HPQ) - Get Report

first-quarter results Wednesday to see whether the tech giant is living up to its recession-proof billing.

Seen as one of the few tech companies successfully

withstanding

the current financial storm, H-P has largely avoided the worst effects of the economic downturn.

Guided by CEO Mark Hurd, H-P

beat

Wall Street's fourth-quarter revenue estimates, thanks to its booming services business and solid growth in its Personal Systems Group.

H-P, which exited the fourth quarter with $10.3 billion in cash, has also earned a reputation for

tight expense control

and expects to shave $1 billion off its expenses in 2009 through its ongoing integration of services firm

EDS

.

H-P has also outlined plans to improve supply-chain efficiency, exploit lower component costs and curtail hiring.

Analysts expect the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm to report first-quarter revenue of $31.93 billion, and earnings of 93 cents a share, up from $28.5 billion and 86 cents a share during the same period last year. H-P itself has forecast first-quarter earnings between 93 cents and 95 cents a share.

H-P, which competes with

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

,

Lenovo

and

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

in hardware, and with

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

in services, has largely side-stepped the problems that have hammered some of its competitors. The company has even managed to exploit Dell's

slowing PC sales

, for example, and is also seen as

well-positioned

against IBM in the server space.

With Dell locked in a major

restructuring effort

and IBM recently

missing

the Street's fourth-quarter revenue estimates, H-P has a great opportunity to claw market share from its rivals.

H-P, which has been making a song and dance about its

green credentials

recently, has also been focusing its attention on

data center networks

. Last month, for example, the firm teamed up with

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

Riverbed

(RVBD)

and

McAfee

(MFE)

to consolidate various applications onto a single piece of switch hardware.

H-P's shares rose 6 cents, or 0.2%, to $34.40 in early trading Wednesday, as the Nasdaq crept up 0.58%.