Is Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) Outperforming Other Computer and Technology Stocks This Year?
A month has gone by since the last earnings report for HP Inc. HPQ. Shares have added about 8.2% in that time frame.
Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is HPQ due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.
HP delivered another quarter of stellar performance wherein its revenues for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while earnings matched the same. Moreover, the company’s revenues increased for the seventh consecutive quarter, out of which the last six recorded double-digit growth after a prolonged period of decline. Also, the Personal Systems and Print segments’ performance improved for the fifth straight quarter, after 2010.
In fact, the company’s outstanding results for the last few quarters substantiate that the spin-off from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, along with its diligent restructuring initiatives, is finally paying off.
HP’s total revenues climbed 13% year over year to $14 billion and outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $13.6 billion. The better-than-expected top-line performance was driven mainly by strength in the Personal System and Printing segments, as well as successful product roll outs.
The company’s bottom-line results were also impressive, wherein its non-GAAP earnings from continuing operations of 48 cents per share came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate, and came toward the higher-end of management’s guided range of 45-49 cents. On a year-over-year basis, non-GAAP earnings improved 20%. The robust bottom-line performance was mainly backed by higher revenues and lower share counts.
Quarter in Detail
The Personal Systems segment generated revenues of $8.8 billion, up 14% year over year, mainly driven by strong demand for high-end products and a 7% rise in prices. While commercial revenues increased 16%, consumer revenues were up 10%.
We believe the spin-off from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, and restructuring initiatives, such as focus on product innovations, pricing, marketing and sales activities, are ultimately paying off.
Notably, International Data Corporation, in its latest report on first-quarter 2018 PC shipment, stated that this quarter marked the eighth consecutive quarter of overall shipment growth for HP.
Coming to the Printing business, the segment’s revenues were up 11% year over year to $5.2 billion, primarily stemming from an 8% increase in supplies revenues and inclusion of the recently-acquired business of Samsung’s printing (S-Print) business. It should be noted that the buyout of S-Print has helped HP in the $55-billion high-end copy-machine market where Xerox Corporation is currently the leader.
HP’s total hardware unit sales grew 13%, backed by the Consumer hardware unit’s increase of 4% and the Commercial hardware unit’s year-over-year growth of 88%. The robust growth in Commercial hardware units chiefly stemmed from the recent inclusion of S-Print business.
Region wise, the company registered double-digit growth in every region it operates. Revenues from Americas were up 7% year over year. While revenues from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) climbed 21%, the same from the Asia Pacific and Japan region jumped 13% year over year.
Gross margin expanded 10 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis to 19.3%. This was primarily supported by increased pricing and improved mix in the Personal Systems segment, which more than offset elevated component costs, particularly the NAND flash chips.
Non-GAAP operating expenses flared up 16% year over year to $1.7 billion. This was mainly due to the inclusion of the S-Print business, and increased investment in research and development, as well as go-to-market sales strategies.
Non-GAAP operating margin from continuing operations remained flat year over year at 7%, as benefit from improved gross margin was fully offset by elevated operating expenses as a percentage of revenues. HP’s non-GAAP net income from continuing operations came in at $798 million compared with $685 million reported a year ago.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
HP ended the fiscal second quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $4.2 billion compared with $5.5 billion recorded in the previous quarter. The company had long-term debt of $4.5 billion compared with $6.3 billion reported in the last reported quarter.
The company generated cash flow of $2 billion from operational activities during the first half of fiscal 2018. HP repurchased shares worth $1.3 billion and paid dividends worth $457 million, during the same time frame.
Buoyed by improving market share across the PC and Printer businesses, HP raised its non-GAAP earnings guidance for fiscal 2018. The company now estimates non-GAAP earnings to lie between $1.97 and $2.02, up from the earlier guidance of $1.90 and $2.00.
On the cost front, the company anticipates that overall component and logistic costs for Personal Systems will escalate throughout fiscal 2018. Moreover, from the beginning of the fiscal second quarter, the company has been witnessing rise in material costs in the Printing segment, which are expected to continue flaring up in the second half of the fiscal too.
Coming to the fiscal third quarter, HP projects non-GAAP earnings from continuing operations in the range of 49-52 cents per share.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
It turns out, fresh estimates have trended upward during the past month. There have been three revisions higher for the current quarter.
HP Inc. Price and Consensus
HP Inc. Price and Consensus | HP Inc. Quote
At this time, HPQ has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a bit on the momentum front with a C. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top quintile for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Based on our scores, the stock is primarily suitable for value investors while also being suitable for those looking for growth and to a lesser degree momentum.
Estimates have been trending upward for the stock and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. It comes with little surprise HPQ has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.
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