HP Profit Beats Lowered Forecast Amid Record Revenue

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Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) Tuesday said quarterly profit topped its own lowered expectations as the computer and printer maker saw record revenues in every business and every region.

The company also backed analyst estimates for the first half of the company's 2005 fiscal year,

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP reported net income for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Oct. 31 of $1.09 billion, or 37 cents per share, compared with $862 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $21.4 billion from $19.9 billion.

Excluding items, HP posted a profit of 41 cents per share, compared with its previous forecast for a per-share profit of 35 cents to 39 cents.

On that basis, analysts had expected a profit of 37 cents per share, on average, within a range of 34 cents to 39 cents, on revenue of $21.2 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

HP's third-quarter results had been well below forecasts, due to problems with installing a major software program from SAP AG (search) and with managing channel inventories in Europe, and it also lowered expectations for the just-reported fourth quarter.

For the first half of fiscal 2005, the company said it sees earnings per share before items of 72 cents to 74 cents and revenue of $41.8 billion to $42.3 billion.

Analysts currently forecast a first-half HP profit of 72 cents per share, on average on revenue of $41.9 billion.

HP shares rose 26 cents to close at $19.68 on the New York Stock Exchange (search). The shares had not yet traded in after-hours.

So far this year, the stock has declined by about 15 percent, compared with an increase of less than 1 percent in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which HP is a component.