Why HP Inc. Rose 11% in January

MarketsMotley Fool

What happened

After being left for dead, HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) has recently shown signs of life. In January, shares of the computer and printing manufacturer rose 11%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, building upon 2017's strong performance.

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So what

In 2015, the company that was then Hewlett-Packard performed a stock split separating its enterprise-focused operations, industrial servers, software, and networking equipment from the consumer-focused laptop-PC and printer business.

The former, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE), was widely considered the healthier, growth-oriented company (unsurprisingly, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman became the CEO of HPE) while HP Inc., stripped of its name, was considered a secular declining legacy business under attack from mobile smartphones.

It was argued the breakup would allow HP Inc. to innovate and win market share, but the announcement also noted it would return 50% to 75% of free cash flow to shareholders, a classic corporate strategy in a declining/no-growth market. Last year was the exact opposite: HP Inc. stock rose 42% on the back of 8% year-on-year revenue growth, while HPE's stock produced a modest 7% return. Meg Whitman, the brain trust behind the corporate split, stepped down from HPE after a disappointing fourth quarter.

Now what

In January, investors received more positive news about HP. As my colleague Leo Sun points out, last year HP led the world in PC shipments, according to data from Gartner Inc. Additionally, HP posted the strongest PC shipment growth of major companies, increasing total shipments by 4.6%, making it one of only three major PC manufacturers to post year-on-year growth -- the other two being Apple and Dell.

In fiscal 2017, HP grew revenue from personal systems (computers) 11% over the prior year. While the company's printing business didn't grow at the same pace as personal systems, 3D printing could be its next catalyst for growth.

Despite a strong 2017, shares of HP Inc. are still cheaply valued. Currently, the company trades at 11 times earnings, versus the greater S&P 500's multiple of 16 times. In addition, the company has a dividend yield of 2.8%, 90 basis points greater than the S&P 500. If you're looking for a cheaply valued, high-yielding turnaround stock, you can do worse than HP Inc.

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Jamal Carnette, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Gartner. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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