Shareholders of HP (NYSE: HPQ) are likely feeling pretty good about its performance since becoming independent a little over a year ago. As of Dec. 13, HP stock has climbed an impressive 34% year to date. On the other hand, analysts have fairly muted expectations and investor concerns about the PC and printing markets has left HP woefully undervalued relative to its peers.
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With its consensus average price target of a mere $16.10 a share and what amounts to a "hold" rating, it's clear most pundits aren't expecting much from HP in the coming year. But there are a few things HP management wants investors to know that warrant a more bullish sentiment, particularly from folks in search of growth and income.
Image source: HP, Inc.
Leader of the pack
Not surprisingly, global PC sales eased again in the third quarter, by 5.7%. The drop in PC sales marked the eighth straight quarter of negative results, an all-time record for the market. That can't be good for HP, right? Turns out, the answer to that question is a resounding, "Yes."
Despite significant declines by most global PC manufacturers last quarter, HP was one of the few that actually grew sales year over year, inching ever closer to China-based Lenovo (NASDAQOTH: LNVGY) in the race to become the global leader. A year ago HP commanded 18.8% of worldwide PC sales compared to Lenovo's 20.2%.
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This year, HP has upped its PC game by targeting specific, niche markets such as its virtual reality (VR) ready, high resolution OMEN laptop for gamers. That strategy is a big part of the reason HP now has a 20.4% market share, while Lenovo's piece of the global PC pie is just 20.9%. Don't be surprised if HP takes over the top spot after this year's holiday shopping season comes to an end.
The writing on the wall
At least part of the aforementioned tepid expectations from analysts is likely due to HP's printing unit results. But there are a couple of things HP management wants investors to know before dismissing its print division.
Last quarter HP reported an 8% drop in total print revenue to $4.56 billion, led by a 12% decline in supplies sales. The thing is, in HP's fiscal 2016 third quarter, announced in August, printing sales had slid a combined 14%, with supply revenue sagging 18% compared to a year ago. CEO Dion Weisler's PC strategy of targeting specific market segments is also working within its printing division. A couple pending opportunities will help HP keep its positive printing momentum going.
The pending $1.05 billion acquisition of Samsung's (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) print division will give HP a boost in a number of ways. In addition to its multifunction copier technologies, the deal with Samsung also includes "more than 6,500 printing patents" and over 1,200 engineers and researchers.
And Samsung's supplies business should help HP's most struggling segment of its printing division. Finally, there's the not-so-small matter of the budding 3D printing market, or as HP refers to it, the "fourth industrial revolution." With two new-ish 3D printers now ready for the world's manufacturers, HP is expected to be one of the market leaders, if not the market leader. And with a price tag starting at $130,000, it won't take too many 3D printer sales to move the needle.
One more thing
In addition to potential growth well beyond the most analysts's expectations, HP offers shareholders one of the best dividend yields in tech. With a strong balance sheet that includes $6.29 billion in cash and equivalents, HP's approximately 3.4% dividend yield isn't in jeopardy of being lowered or discarded anytime soon.
In today's low interest rate environment, a dividend yield over 3% is outstanding. Now toss in the fact that HP stock is trading at just a touch over nine times future earnings, and it offers growth and income investors a compelling alternative.
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