HOUSTON – Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ), the No. 2 personal computer maker, Monday added its voice to the recent batch of quarterly updates, saying it expects to meet or beat consensus estimates for first-quarter earnings despite tough economic conditions.
The Houston, Texas-based company said it sees first-quarter revenue of $7.7 billion, which is slightly above analyst expectations for revenue of $7.6 billion, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.
In addition, it said it anticipates meeting or beating analyst consensus for earnings, which is currently for profit of 1 cent per share.
The news gave Compaq shares a boost, raising them to $9.76 in after-hours trade from a close of $9.59, which was up 3 cents.
Compaq, which reports earnings on April 18, plans to merge with printer and computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. (HWP) in what would be the largest technology deal ever. It is waiting for a final shareholder vote tally on that deal.
Some analysts downplayed Compaq's announcement, noting that Compaq's new revenue guidance is barely $100 million, or 1.3 percent, above what analysts had been expecting.
"This is pretty much in line with what people are expecting anyway," said Ashok Kumar, an analyst at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. "It's highly unlikely that Compaq is the oasis of strength here."
Compaq's affirmation of its earnings came on a day when competitor International Business Machines Corp. issued its first earnings warning outside of a regular conference call in more than a decade.
IBM said that first-quarter results would lag analyst expectations due to the broad and continuing slowdown in information technology spending.
"IBM has been gaining market share in just about all of their product segments, so their warning speaks much more to the overall slowdown in (information technology) spending," Kumar said. "I wouldn't put too much stock in what Compaq is saying."
Compaq's comments also follow those of key competitor Dell Computer Corp. , which said last week that its first-quarter revenue was a bit higher than it anticipated. It attributed the improvement to increased market share rather than improved tech spending.
Compaq said that it had more than $1 billion in major account wins in the health care, education and travel markets alone in the first quarter.