Earnings Preview: HP shares recover after $8.8B charge related to Autonomy deal

theflyonthewall.com

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is set to report Q1 earnings after the market close on Thursday, February 21, with a conference call scheduled for 5:00 pm ET. Hewlett-Packard is an IT company that provides hardware, software, and business and enterprise solutions... EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for EPS of 71c on revenue of $27.79B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 68c-82c on revenue of $26.3B-$28.72B... LAST QUARTER: HP reported Q4 EPS of $1.16 against estimates for $1.14 on revenue of $29.96B against estimates for $30.34B. HP said it sees Q1 EPS ex-items 68c-71c against then estimates for 85c. HP affirmed its FY13 EPS view of $3.40-$3.60 against then estimates for $3.52; current FY13 EPS consensus is $3.49. In its Q4 report, HP said it was taking an $8.8B charge primarily related to its acquisition of UK-based software company Autonomy. The company said a majority of this charge was related to "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failures and outright misrepresentations...that occurred prior to HP's acquisition of Autonomy." On December 27, HP said the Department of Justice had opened an investigation related to Autonomy, and on February 11 the Financial Reporting Council, the UK's accounting regulator, confirmed it was investigating Autonomy. Following Dell's (DELL) February 5 announcement that it was being taken private, HP released a statement saying it plans to take "full advantage" of any opportunities presented to the company as a result of Dell's deal. Since its Q4 report, reports of activist involvement in HP or a possible breakup of the company have circulated, though none of these reports have been publicly confirmed or denied... STREET RESEARCH: In the days following HP's Q4 results, shares were downgraded by at least four analyst firms. Following Dell's deal to be taken private, Jefferies said a takeover of HP is unlikely, and the firm maintains an Underperform rating on shares with a $10 price target. Wells Fargo issued a note in response to a story from Quartz that said HP's board was studying a breakup of the company, that said the firm thinks HP may spin off smaller units of the company, but that the PC or printer businesses are unlikely candidates to be spun off; Wells Fargo maintains a Market Perform rating on the stock. In a note earlier today, Sterne Agee maintained its Neutral rating on HP shares, saying that though shares remain inexpensive, continued pressure on HP's core businesses may reveal further downside in the stock... PRICE ACTION: Shares of HP are up over 26% since the first day of trading following its Q4 report. Shares of HP are up 0.6% in early afternoon trading ahead of its Q1 report.

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