Hewlett-Packard’s (NYSE:HPQ) fiscal second-quarter profits inched up 4.7%, but the world’s largest tech company by revenue took an axe to its guidance once again and issued a gloomy outlook for the current quarter.
The disappointing forecast sent H-P’s stock diving 5% and comes in the wake of Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) spooking Wall Street last week with cautious commentary.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based H-P said it earned $2.3 billion, or $1.05 a share, in the quarter ended April 30, compared with a profit of $2.2 billion, or 91 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned $1.24, topping estimates by 3 pennies.
Revenue increased 3% to $31.63 billion, narrowly surpassing the Street’s view of $31.52 billion. Americas revenue gained 2% to $13.8 billion, while Asia Pacific sales leaped 10% to $6.1 billion.
“HP executed well and delivered a solid quarter,” CEO Léo Apotheker said in a statement. “Today we are accelerating our efforts to align our services business model to our long-term strategy to deliver unprecedented value to our customers and a better return for our shareholders.”
But much of the focus was on H-P’s decision to lower its guidance, citing a negative impact from the Japan earthquake, “continued softness” in PC consumer sales and lower profit expectations for its services unit.
H-P now sees fiscal 2011 non-GAAP EPS of at least $5.00 on sales of $129 billion to $130 billion. Analysts had been calling for stronger EPS of $5.24 on revenue of $130.22 billion.
For the current quarter, H-P forecasted non-GAAP EPS of about $1.08 on revenue of $31.1 billion to $31.3 billion. That guidance compares unfavorably with the Street’s view of $1.23 on revenue of $31.78 billion.
H-P moved up the timing of its earnings release to Tuesday morning after a leaked internal email made headlines late Monday by revealing Apotheker told his top deputies to brace for “another tough quarter.”
Shareholders expressed their disappointment, sending H-P’s stock dropping 5.20% to $37.73 in the premarkets. The stock had already lost 5.5% in 2011 and 16% from a year ago.