HP shares slide on lower than expected forecast

Weak consumer business hurts outlook
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Shares in the word's largest computer manufacturer HP took a dive, despite gains in first quarter revenue.

Investors were spooked as HP issued a lower than expected revenue forecast for the rest of the year, $31.6 billion, several billion less than expected by Wall Street analysts. 

The results are also the first under new CEO Leo Apotheker, having inhereted the helm of a company finding itself vulnerable to a reliance on the consumer business, a market which has been slow to recover compared with the enterprise sector.

HP in January invited journalists and analysts to an event on the 14th of March where the company said Apotheker will unveil a new strategy.

Apotheker has already signalled a desire for HP to reinvest in research and development, an area cut back by former CEO Mark Hurd. 

IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano criticised Hurd's strategy, saying "HP used to be a very inventive company." Palmisano said HP "had no choice" in paying top dollar for storage company 3PAR because "Hurd cut out all the research and development."

On Tuesday Apotheker, speaking to the FT, defended HP's strategy of remaining focused on both the business and consumer markets, reportedly saying that he was "strong committed to an approach that had made HP the world's most diversified technology conglomerate."

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