Ailing computer giant Hewlett Packard (HWP) will report earnings after today's market close.
The stock is up 81% this year, analysts are flipping sell ratings to buy and the company even gained market share in the tough personal computer space. The personal computer supplier is expected to report earnings of 87 cents per share off of $27.3 billion in revenue.
So CEO Meg Whitman, a month away from her second anniversary running HP, must be doing a great job?
Whitman has certainly injected new energy and focus at HP, which was floundering after going through three CEOs in 2010. She's badgering big clients, like Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, to win back lost business. And she is setting a positive tone by eliminating offices and other perks for top management as she slashes costs and lays off some 29,000 employees. HP was in near free fall before Whitman arrived and she must be given credit for stabilizing things.
But just about all of the company's major lines of business continue to shrink. Whether it's PCs and printers, corporate servers or outsourced IT services, HP is selling what fewer customers are buying. And in hot areas like smartphones, tablets and cloud services, HP is almost invisible.
Thanks to missteps by her predecessors, Whitman doesn't have the ability to do a major acquisition to fill in some of the holes. And the company's tight resources don't leave much available for long-term research and development, either.
The company reports earnings after the market closes on Wednesday and Wall Street is expecting more of the same smaller revenue and profits than last year. Last quarter, HP surprised Wall Street with better profit and revenue than expected, even as it shrunk. But deep cost cutting can only go so far and part of the beat came because three major customers took longer than expected to end service contracts with HP.
Oh and about that amazing stock surge? At the closing price of $25.84 on Tuesday, the shares have gained a whopping 10% since Whitman was hired, trailing the 36% gain in the S&P 500 by quite a bit.
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