HP 1st-Quarter Profit Up to $1.2B

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)'s fiscal first-quarter profit jumped 30 percent on Wednesday as the printer and computer company saw cost-saving benefits from last year's restructuring and strong sales across most its product lines.

For the three months ended Jan. 31, HP earned $1.2 billion, or 42 cents per share, compared with a profit of $943 million, or 32 cents per share in the same period last year. Sales rose 6 percent, to $22.7 billion in the first quarter from $21.5 billion from the year-ago period.

Excluding one-time items, HP earned $1.39 billion, or 49 cents per share, compared with a profit of $1.08 billion, or 37 cents per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2005.

On that basis, the results beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts were expecting Palo Alto-based HP to earn 44 cents per share on sales of $22.55 billion, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

"Growth was balanced across most of our businesses and geographies, cash flow was strong and we were disciplined in controlling costs," said Mark Hurd, HP's chief executive. "While hard work remains ahead of us, our efforts are starting to show results."

Hurd, who replaced ousted CEO Carly Fiorina last March, has implemented measures to cut costs and reorganize the sprawling technology company. He reversed course on some of Fiorina's more controversial moves and, last July, announced plans to cut 14,500 jobs to bring HP's costs more in line with its competition. The total job cuts grew to 15,300 late last year.

The results were announced after the financial markets closed Wednesday. Shares of HP closed Wednesday at $31.67, down 82 cents or 2.5 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange. Later, they gained 3 percent, or 94 cents, in the after-hours session.