Hewlett-Packard profit drops 17 percent on lower PC sales

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) saw its profit fall 17 percent on lower sales of personal computers and printer ink.

Its shares fell in after-hours trading after the company forecast sales that would miss analyst estimates for the current quarter.

Since the world's largest maker of personal computers is seeing sales that are flat to slightly lower compared with the quarter that ended at the end of April, technology investors may lose some of the enthusiasm that has sparked a rally over the past couple of months.

Hewlett-Packard
said sales will be unchanged or decline as much as 2 percent from its last quarter. That would mean sales as low as $26.9 billion and profit, excluding some costs, of 88 cents to 90 cents. On average, analysts are expecting revenue of $27.5 billion and profit of 89 cents a share.

It's still "too tough to call" whether PC sales have hit a bottom, HP's CFO Cathie Lesjak told the Associated Press today, prior to the earnings report.

The San-Francisco-based company earned $1.72 billion, or 70 cents per share for the quarter ended April 30. Minus one-time charges and restructuring costs, it earned 86 cents per share, matching the average forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Sales fell 3 percent to $27.4 billion, also lining up with analyst estimates. If not for currency fluctuations, HP said sales would have been up 3 percent for the quarter.

"The numbers looked pretty good," Shaw Wu, analyst at Kaufman Bros, told CNBC. "Many were expecting a miss."

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